People like Roger Martin, Tim Brown and Matt Ridley, have it absolutely right when they talk about the fact we need to fundamentally approach problems and think differently. All of them have suggested, in slightly different ways, that our success as leaders in the future will be determined not by what we do but by how we look at the future and whether we can genuinely open our minds to the opportunities rather than shelter behind convention and the status quo.
Whether it is the concept of design thinking or integrative thinking, we know with great certainty, innovation does not occur in the land of the safe and the familiar. Innovation only occurs in the land of chaos, confusion and uncertainty. It occurs in what others have called the “zone of productive disequilibrium”. It is where the heat of disagreement sparks the fires of imagination. It is in the discomfort zone. It is in the zone of discontent in which the transformational leader must keep their organization. It is an approach which can only come from a willingness to explore the unknown, rather than exploit the existing.