My top business guru is Edward de Bono. One of the most successful theories developed by de Bono is “six hats thinking”. This is a powerful technique used to look at a problem from a number of important perspectives.By using a structured process to think through an issue from different viewpoints, “six hats thinking” allows for a more complete analysis of a situation. Rational facts as well as creative thought and emotional responses to issues are explored more openly and transparently. Each coloured hat provides a different perspective:
- White: facts and data focused
- Red: emotional responses
- Black: downside risks and devil’s advocate
- Yellow: positive points and benefits
- Green: creative solutions
- Blue: process control and chairing of the process.
How de Bono has influenced my business approach:De Bono’s “six hats” and lateral thinking techniques has made me become more habitually creative and has led me consider more consistently the impact of how a wild idea might translate into practical reality! At Crussh, it has helped us to make better and more original decisions that give us a competitive edge. A practical example: A few years ago the only way to do toasties for most companies was to use a panini grill machine. The problems we had in a busy store were threefold:
- Panini machine was too slow five minutes or more and couldn?t handle multiple orders easily
- Staff, despite training, didn?t always keep an eye on the panini grill and frequently burnt the toastie leading to annoyed customers and wasted product
- Panini machine was expensive and quite often the inside of the panini wasn?t warm despite the outside being toasted.
- Product our toastie was square rather than rectangular we had a bespoke ciabatta bread baked for us so that it would fit into a normal wide slot toaster in the Toastabag
- We kept the cost down by being able to use normal toasters and microwaves saving on an expensive panini grill
- We increased the speed of service by bringing the time from over five minutes to about three minutes and also avoided having burnt products due to the toaster timer setting
- We created a real point of difference in the product as well that has lead to strong sales ever since.
Chris Fung, the founder of Crussh, contributed to “Business Gurus”, a new book published by Crimson Publishing this month which describes entrepreneurs’ business heroes.
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