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Significance of the Explorer’s Mindset for Breakthrough

I have been to the beautiful Canary Wharf of London million times with the DLR (the automated Docklands Light Railway) or walking there from Greenwich Village. Still, every time I go I discover new angles and settings and in many instances they are more beautiful than the ones I have seen before. This does not happen by coincidence all the time, but it is always my drive to use new routes or to discover new angles I did not see before, and indeed to discover new possibilities, new opportunities, and new treasures. The trick to discover new places is to have the drive and focus to do so and to be adventurous–and to be ready to get lost while discovering.

Besides the discovery of new opportunities and new paradises,during exploration, all such new venues are usually very inspiring to the creative mind, irrespective of the actual find. This explorer’s mindset is about the quest for new experiences and about embracing the new and not fearing it. It is about constant learning inspiring you to transform and to renew. This explorer’s mindset is conducive to a quantum leap–you will discover and learn a lot of new things, making a quantum leap that much more attractive and feasible.

Canary wharf is a manmade beauty with unique architecture and harmony between buildings, green, and water. It is one of the UK’s two main financial centers, along with the traditional City of London.

Canary Wharf Estate is not huge and spans only some over 97 acres (some 40 hectares = 400,000 square meters) and contains some 14 million square feet of office and retail space (1.3 million square meter). It has some of the tallest buildings in the UK, such as the One Canada Square skyscraper.  It has also some of the most beautiful buildings in the country, such as 25 Cabot Square (completed in 1991). It has also very unusual beautiful settings like the Crossrail Place Roof Garden and which I have discovered only recently despite the many visits.

A lot of property development is taking place in the country, but especially in Canary Wharf, with equal thrust on residential buildings. Hence, things are changing in Canary Wharf and I have discovered only recently different settings where heavy construction work is taking place.

About the Explorer’s Mindset

The explorer’s mindset is about the love of 1-U_Jna5AG1tiOrNcYlCtUXgadventure, exploration and getting inspired by new discoveries. No breakthrough or quantum leap change can be achieved without this mindset. This relevance is more pronounced for rapidly changing and volatile environments, where disruptive developments and innovations have become the norm of the day. This mindset is needed even for the actual formulation of strategy of a startup, diversification, merger or any major change in direction of an SME or a corporate setting. Formulating strategy is an adventure in itself, and strategy should be also in the spirit of exploration of the unknown constantly: it is a journey of exploration and change into the unknown. You should not be satisfied with what you already know or have but you should discover new things, new territories and new potential, and use also this knowledge for inspiration.

Learn and experience new things like IBN BATTUTA (1302 – 1377) or VASCO DE GAMA. It is about the love of the unknown, similar to an expedition to the North Pole or to the center of the earth or a treasure hunt in the depth of the sea. It is about discovery, adventure, risk taking, positive thinking, crossing the boundaries and researching far beyond. You are on a quest for a better opportunity, for a new paradise.

You should be confident there are million paradises out there waiting to be discovered or even created. There are definitely many paradises out there you do not know about; they are scattered in million places you have not been to. There are million things you do not know about, but also million companies you have not seen. There are millions of opportunities you have not yet identified.

New experiences stimulate your creativity and help you transform. It is a journey of self-discovery, indeed when the new experiences are linked to your passion. It is a process of constant learning. There is usually no straight line to your goal, and there are many changes and adjustments of direction along the way.

Turning the Mindset into a Habit

It is important to turn the explorer’s mindset into a daily habit, although this requires ample practice. It is crucial to embrace a mindset with all the senses, visual, audible etc. You can also embrace a combination of mindsets, simultaneously or in succession.  You should allocate as CEO, top manager or even middle manager half a day or one day in the week to the exploration of the unknown, be it in another industry, location, technology or people. Explore also what is changing in the landscape. You should look always beyond the visible boundaries. You can just go on some wild expedition in your industry, e.g. some conference or exhibition, or visit a new country or a new plant, for the sake of exploring and just to discover new things. It does not have to make business sense initially. Try new approaches all the time and stay away from the usual and routine.  You can also focus on a specific mindset for some 15 minutes before going to sleep. This mindset will be more reinforced in the subconscious during the sleep and connections with your strategy can be made even while you are dreaming. You will also wake up with the fresh mindset ready for action. You should practice and practice and live the spirit too. Even when you go for a walk try new routes and places.  This will become a habit with time.

A Combination of Mindsets Is Needed

Attaining a breakthrough and making a quantum leap into the future are not realizable without the right mindsets in place. This will provide the booster to be more daring and more creative and to achieve more. It is very difficult to make a quantum leap without the explorer’s mindset. Although this mindset is indispensable for making a quantum leap, i.e. a radical move, it is not sufficient for success; there are other mindsets involved in the making of a successful quantum leap. Are you in the right mindsets for a quantum leap?

It is crucial to have the mindsets in place before the start of the strategy formulation process or the launch of your new startup project. If you do not have the right mindsets then it is better to postpone your thinking and decisions till you have them.

About Dr. Stephen Sweid

Dr. Stephen M. Sweid is a business and innovation consultant and trainer, with over 20 years consulting experience on the international scene: Europe, USA, Middle East, and Far East. He has involved as expert consultant in technical assistance projects of international organizations as well as in consulting projects commissioned by multinationals. He is also an author on Flevy, specializing in breakout strategy methodologies: view his documents here.

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