How can you make a breakthrough in any field you are passionate about?
“If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
Isaac Newton, 1676
In this post I want to share how the ProConCloud method I developed to help people make better faster decisions was developed over a period of 15 years by standing on the shoulders of especially two Giants within the field of Decision Making.
The first giant was Ben Franklin. He codified his Pro-Con List method in a letter to a friend in 1772. Remarkably, after almost 250 years, it is still one of the most common decision making methods today. The method had many benefits but also a few key limitations. For example, what if you cannot directly compare a PRO or positive of accepting a new job like a higher salary, with the CON or negative of the new job like the inconvenience to your family of moving.
The second giant was Dr. Eli Goldratt, creator of the Theory of Constraints and best selling author of The Goal. He created two methods. The first was his Evaporating Cloud method that allows you to expose possible assumptions that you can challenge to resolve a decision conflict. The second was his Change Matrix method that allowed you to define, not just the Pros and Cons of making a CHANGE, but also the Pros and Cons of NOT CHANGING. Each of these methods had many benefits, but also a few critical limitations.
With the development of my ProConCloud method, the aim was to create a new, more powerful, but also more practical, method that maintained the benefits of the previous methods, while also overcoming most, if not all their critical limitations.
I am sharing the evolution journey of my ProConCloud method, also as an example of how YOU can make a breakthrough in any area that you are passionate about.
Every time I want to make a breakthrough in any area I am passionate about, I use a simple but powerful method shared with me, by my mentor for over 2 decades, Dr. Eli Goldratt (1947-2011)
Step 1: Decide on an area that you want to make a major breakthrough in.
In my case, it was “decision making”
Step 2: Identify the GIANT(s) in that area
In my case, it was Ben Franklin, Dr. Eli Goldratt and a few others
Step 3: Really Study their innovation, to identify why it often works…but also, why it sometimes does not work, or might be too difficult or complex to always be useful.
[In my case, I really really studied the Pro-Con List, Evaporating Cloud and Change Matrix to identify their key benefits and also key limitations]
Step 4: Identify one or more “bad” assumptions, or conditions where the method will not work or be too difficult/complex to be useful.
[In the case of the Pro-Con List, the “bad” assumption is that there is a way to compare and cancel out PROS with CONS…what economist call a “common utility. In the Case of the Evaporating Cloud and Change Matrix, they did not have simple and repeatable steps in critical parts to systemically create breakthroughs. e.g. they could work if used by experts, but not by novices]
Step 5: Create a Solution that overcomes the limitations of the previous innovations..
In my case, I developed the 5-step ProConCloud method, with each step designed to prevent a common mistake we make in resolving decision conflicts with a win:win breakthrough solution
Step 6: Test your innovation with rigorous field testing…learning from each experiment what works and what not to keep improving its value and usefulness.
In my case, I started testing the first version of the ProConCloud method in 2007 in three target markets as part of my PhD. With leadership teams of private sector companies, with leadership teams in public sector organizations and with individuals. The first version took 5 days to complete or 2400 minutes. With each “experiment” we looked for ways to make it simpler, easier, faster and better. Today, the full 5 steps can be completed even by kids using our Harmony Decision Maker App in as little as 60 minutes…40x faster than the first version
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