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Start with the ridiculous and work toward the reasonable

In the realm of negotiation, there is widely understood maxim: “He who proposes the first figure loses.”

What is the reasoning behind this phrase? In fear of sounding ridiculous, the first person typically proposes what is (or might be near) a logical figure. What is not often understood is that all following conversations are framed around the initial figure.

In other words, the first proposal becomes a mental precedent – a yardstick by which all other suggestions are compared and contrasted. And once this mental seed has been planted, we cannot not think about the “pink elephant.” Our frame of mind becomes insidiously tied to this initial proposal for better or worse.

The same line of reasoning plays out in creative thinking. When starting with the practical, it becomes extremely difficult to remove preconceived notions about what is possible. The practical approach draws upon existing knowledge, data, points of reference, and common dogma. Restricting indeed.

The most creative Mavericks reverse the process and work backwards. This prevents many limiting mental anchors from forming in the first place. They begin with the absurd and then test it; then test it again, and again.  Their playfulness, openness, curiosity, and sometimes mischievous nature, cultivates innovation and a willingness to push the envelop.

Don’t get practical. Get playful. Great ideas are seldom birthed where logic trumps undaunted imagination.

Be a Maverick,

– Kent

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