Based on in-depth interviews with more than 200 leading entrepreneurs, a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, in The Creator’s Code, identifies the six essential disciplines needed to transform your ideas into real-world successes.
Creators are not born with an innate ability to conceive and build $ 100 million enterprises. They work at it. I found that they all share certain fundamental approaches to the act of creation. The skills that make them successful can be learned, practiced, and passed on. Each is the topic of a chapter in this book:
1. FIND THE GAP
By staying alert, creators spot opportunities that others don’t see. They keep their eyes open for fresh potential, a vacuum to fill, or an unmet need. Creators tend to use one of three distinct techniques: transplanting ideas across divides, designing a new way forward, or merging disparate concepts. I characterize creators who master these approaches as Sunbirds, Architects, or Integrators.
2. DRIVE FOR DAYLIGHT
Just as race-car drivers keep their eyes fixed on the road ahead, creators focus on the future, knowing that where they go, their eyes go first. Creators move too fast to navigate by the confines of their lane or the position of their peers. Instead, they focus on the horizon, scan the edges, and avoid nostalgia to set the pace in a fast-moving marketplace.
3. FLY THE OODA LOOP
Creators continuously update their assumptions. In rapid succession, they observe, orient, decide, and act. Like legendary fighter pilot John Boyd, who pioneered the idea of the “OODA loop,” creators move nimbly from one decision to the next. They master fast-cycle iteration and in short order gain an edge over less agile competitors.
4. FAIL WISELY
Creators understand that experiencing a series of small failures is essential to avoiding catastrophic mistakes. In the course of practicing and mastering this skill, they set what I call failure ratios, place small bets to test ideas, and develop resilience. They hone the skill to turn setbacks into successes.
5. NETWORK MINDS
To solve multifaceted problems, creators bring together the brainpower of diverse individuals through on- and off-line forums. They harness cognitive diversity to build on each other’s ideas. To do this, creators design shared spaces, foster flash teams, hold prize competitions, and build work-related games. They collaborate with unlikely allies.
6. GIFT SMALL GOODS
Creators unleash generosity by helping others, often by sharing information, pitching in to complete a task, or opening opportunities to colleagues. Offering kindness may not seem like a skill, but it is an essential way that creators strengthen relationships. In an increasingly transparent and interconected world, generosity makes creators more productive.
Master the six skills
The six essential skills are not discrete, stand-alone practices. Each feeds the next, creating synergy and momentum.
No especial expertise is required to master the six skills. You don’t need credentials or degrees. The ability to turn ideas into enduring enterprises is available to anyone willing to learn and work. Although everyone has strengths in certain skills and weaknesses in others, the more we exercise and increase our proficiency in each, the more we will be able to make the most of every opportunity.
When a creator brings together all six skills, something magnetic occurs. Creators attract allies–employees, customers, investors, and collaborators of all kinds. Customers become evangelists.