Jim Gilmore, best-selling author and co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP, discusses his experiences, books, and the importance of mastering the various modes of observation to innovate and improve decision making.
[6:50] Jim explains how he came to write Look. After studying Edward De Bono, he had an insight into thoughts, actions, and observations, which inspired him about six looking glasses to represent modes of observation.
[11:27] The six looking glasses are: Binoculars, for surveying and scanning, Bifocals, for comparing and contrasting views, Magnifying Glass for pinpointing the main point, Microscope, for scrutinizing the details, Rose-colored Glasses, for seeing potential, and Blindfold, for recalling all you have seen. Together they help people see more of what there is to be seen. Observation is separate from cognition.
[24:40] Watching people in groups and in detail can reveal unseen patterns of behavior that lead to innovation and disruption.
[26:00] When film was an expense, people framed their photos carefully. We lose our sense of framing by shooting carelessly. We take too many shots to curate. Study a scene carefully and limit yourself to framing one shot. Apply this deliberation to business decisions. Apply it to life.
[37:31] The more skilled you are at observing with the first five glasses, the better you will be at recalling blindfolded what you saw. If you don’t look well, you will recall poorly. The best glasses for a leader is to be skilled in using all of them. Particularly consider the bifocals. Pair opposites, and pair things as opposites. All innovation begins with observation.
[45:44] Jim sat next to George Carlin on a cross-country flight in 2000. Jim learned how George Carlin worked and filed his observations. He said, everybody observes, but they don’t know where to put the data. George Carlin maintained 2,500 directories where he recorded his daily observations and he knew each category. Come up with a number of categories of things you want to be consciously observing.
How to contact Jim:
Check out the thinkAbout conference!
Separate observation from cognition.
Just look for the sake of looking.
Much of business is observing
All innovation begins with observation.
Jim Gilmore coauthored the highly influential book, The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage (Harvard Business School Press). Now published in nineteen languages — and in an updated paperback edition — the book spawned worldwide interest in experience design, experiential marketing, and customer experience management.
Jim’s other book, Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want (Harvard Business Review Press), prompted TIME Magazine in a March 2008 cover story to name its insight on the subject as one of “Ten ideas that are changing the world.”
Jim is co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP, based in Aurora, Ohio. He is a Batten fellow and adjunct lecturer at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, where he teaches a course on the Experience Economy. Gilmore is also a visiting lecturer in Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, where he teaches a course on cultural hermeneutics. He also teaches a design course at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
He is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an alumnus of Procter & Gamble, and, before co-founding Strategic Horizons LLP, was head of CSC Consulting’s Process Innovation practice.