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The Analogy Implementation

August 23, 2012


“History is not, of course, a cookbook offering pretested recipes. It teaches by analogy, not by maxims.”
Henry Kissinger

Everyone gets stuck. Every once in a while you get stuck. Brought to a standstill with no obvious way forward. What is important is what happens next.

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Most people do one of two things. They look for an exact, prepackaged and commercial deployment ready solution. Or they pull up a chair and wait until one comes along. And wait. And wait. Until it is too late.

Look for ways to get unstuck. Look around a little and you will probably find an “in-the-ballpark” solution. In today’s world you can find someone, somewhere who has worked on an issue like yours. So, work on having the vision to imagine how one example can be adapted to a new problem set.

Jack Dorsey’s friend had a problem. He lost a sale because he did not have a merchant account and could not accept credit cards to sell his faucets. The world had magnetic card readers at every check stand. The world had master merchant accounts at PayPal. Still, there was no portable way to bring the payment platform to customers. So, Dorsey worked on bringing an easy to use credit card reader and a payment gateway to a smartphone. Problem solved for the friend, and, as it turns out, many, many small vendors the world over.

Be the innovator not the inventor. Somewhere someone has run into a problem, obstacle or impediment similar to yours. You don’t need an invention, you need an adaptor. Be the innovator who uses the template to guide the specific solution.

You, or your organization, need only to add the final touches for your situation, and the backbone to implement it. So next time you run into a new problem, instead of looking for the exact solution, look for an effective solution that can be adapted to your situation.

If your solution is good enough, turn around and sell it to all the people in the chairs.

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