A book by Tim Hurson
Think Better: An innovator’s guide to productive thinking
Comments | Print friendly | Subscribe | Email Us
There are thousands of books about thinking. Almost every business book, leadership book, and self-help book mentions the importance of thinking better. But there are very few books that provide clear how-to information to actually help you think better. Tim Hurson’s new book, by the same title, Think Better, does just that. It’s one of the only innovation books I’ve come across that actually shows you how.
Tim has worked in the creativity business for 25 years, with large corporations, not-for-profits, and individuals. Think Better presents Tim’s take on the Creative Problem Solving process — which he calls productive thinking. Productive thinking is a practical, repeatable process that helps people understand more clearly, think more creatively, and plan more effectively.
Innovation guru, Sid Parnes, the founder of the Creative Problem Solving Process which spawned many other creative thinking systems such as Synergistics and Six Thinking Hats, has this to say about Hurson’s book: “I rarely get so excited about a book. Think Better is pace setting. Its examples and stories are powerful. It will serve as a primary sourcebook for those searching for exciting ideas on innovating productively.”
Think Better has received plenty of other kudos too — innovation pioneer, Roger von Oech (Whack on the Side of the Head), says it is an essential resource. Andy Boynton, Dean of the Carroll School of Business at Boston College, says “Think Better is a marvelously choreographed and insightful treasury of powerful ideas for any professional in any organization who relies on brainpower to boost their own brand equity and contribute mightily to their company’s success. This book will give you a remarkably high return on investment in You, Inc.” And Colin Funk, of the Banff Leadership Centre, says, “If you are someone interested in creating the future for your team, organization or the planet, put down the crystal ball and pick up a copy of Think Better.”
Hurson’s premise is that anyone can learn to think better — that no matter what our basic equipment, no matter what our previous training, there’s a straightforward way to learn how to think more productively.
He begins by explaining the difference between productive and re-productive thinking. According to Hurson, most organizations are not bad at re-productive thinking. Many companies have improved quality, reduced errors, and increased efficiency by applying re-productive thinking to achieve kaizen, or good change. Re-productive thinking is useful for incremental improvement, but for breakthrough innovation, you need productive thinking. Productive thinking fosters what Tim calls tenkaizen, or good revolution. Unfortunately, most people — and most organizations — haven’t developed the skills necessary for tenkaizen.
Hurson discusses the barriers — biological, psychological, and social — to tenkaizen thinking. Then he outlines the principles we can use to overcome them. Finally, he takes us step-by-step through the productive thinking model and its tools. I was particularly impressed with tools he calls DRIVE, POWER, and What’s UP?
Hurson demonstrates how you can start with an intractable technical problem, an unmet consumer need, or a gaping chasm in your business strategy and, by following a clearly defined, practical thinking process, arrive at a robust, innovative solution.
But don’t be fooled, Think Better is not a dry treatise. It’s filled with stories, insights, and humor. You’re sure to come away with more than a few AHA’s and have a good time in the process. You’ll also have the chance to develop the competitive edge every businessperson needs. Think Better is available in all major bookstores and on Amazon.com. Highly recommended.
Mark Borkowski runs a Toronto based company specializing in the sale of privately owned businesses.