BOOKS | A little betting can go a long way for successful creators and innovators. Just ask Chris Rock.
Chris Rock tells rambling jokes, gives lousy performances and disappoints small audiences in his hometown on a regular basis.
It’s true, according to Peter Sims in his new book, “Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries”. Behind every one of Rock’s brilliant stand up comedy routines are hours and hours of experimentation, testing, audience observation and refining.
Rock’s M.O. is a living, breathing example of what Sims calls “experimental innovation”. The author argues that like Chris Rock, creators and innovators need to take ‘little bets’, low risk but concrete actions to help “discover, develop, and test an idea”. Doing so helps discover new possibilities and solve long-standing problems.
Sims identifies the fundamentals of experimental innovation as:
• learning by doing;
• failing quickly to learn fast;
• creating playful environments where people can improvise freely;
• going out into the world to learn things firsthand;
• defining problems and needs before solving them;
• being willing to switch paths; and
• experimenting, testing and refining ideas constantly.
It‘s a big relief that Sims believes there’s still a big role for linear, procedural thinkers to play but that they need to make little bets too.
“No one can take their eye off their core business or responsibilities, but anyone can spend a portion of their time and energies using little bets to discover, test and improve new ideas.”
Hats off to a future where we are all free to channel our inner Chris Rock!