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Competition blindness What technology or company could most disrupt your business plan? Lost opportunity for innovation What two parts of your business could operate together? Short-sighted decision-making How do you see your business growing in the next month, six months, year and five years?

Psychological halloweenism If your team is stuck and needs to come up with a good idea, you may suggest that people adopt the identity of another person for a time (psychological halloweenism). One study showed that people who acted like eccentric poets as opposed to rigid librarians became more creative. When they switched roles, the same stereotype effect was seen.

Possibility thinking While it is important for businesses to be grounded in reality, ideas are often born in the imagination. That’s where solutions and breakthroughs come from. Unfocusing from the outside and looking within for possibilities makes a huge difference. There is a science to believing that a solution is possible too. It increases brain opioids and dopamine, allowing you to feel less stressed and more motivated by a sense of reward. Taking time to ask what is possible will activate your brain differently than always focusing on reality.

Applying the principles of focus and unfocus in a coaching or workshop session When working with leaders, you may suggest lifestyle changes, and you can ask a specific set of questions that will stimulate the unfocus circuit. In addition, you may suggest some tools and techniques in different contexts as illustrated previously.

Lifestyle changes Identify times of the day when your energy is


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Possibility thinking This will teach people what is blocking their sense of possibility, and they can focus on overcoming these obstacles too. Psychological halloweenism Use this exercise the next time you have an innovation meeting, or when you need people to understand different points of view. They should determine beforehand who they would want to emulate and how that person might solve a problem. This is likely to enhance their creativity.

low. For example, you may feel more depleted mid-morning, after lunch, mid-afternoon and at the end of your day. Then, build in one or more unfocused activities during 10-15-minute periods. You may, for example, nap for ten minutes at 10am, go for a free walk after lunch, doodle in the mid-afternoon, and do PCD while gardening when you get home. This may seem like you are wasting time, but you should think of it as refuelling your brain. To schedule this, you can use the desktop app called the TinkerTable that will synchronize with your calendar to plan unfocus times in the day. Focus is essential and necessary at work. But without unfocus, focus will be diminished, and the unconscious brain will not be utilized properly. Building unfocus time into your day can help you become more productive, creative, a better predictor, and more self-connected. So start by creating or suggesting personal lifestyle changes, then ask yourself or your clients the questions above. Practising unfocus exercises will engage your imagination and internal resources much more effectively over time (see boxout). — Dr Srini Pillay is a practising psychiatrist, brain-based technology innovator and part-time assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, US This article is adapted from his latest book Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind (Ballantine Books). When you buy a copy of the book, you get a free app and Quickstart Guide if you email the author at Q4 2017 Dialogue

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Dialogue Q4 2017  
Dialogue Q4 2017