Exploiting Chaos

150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change

150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change - an award-winning business innovation book by Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trend Hunter

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In addition to terrorism and music piracy, decentralization can also be used for good. In 1934 Bill Wilson was a talented individual who drowned his Wall Street career by being perpetually intoxicated. In the years that followed, he cre- ated a support group that would later be known as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). In their most recent Fact File, AA reported more than 100,000 sup- port groups totaling nearly 2,000,000 members. Despite its success, the AA Fact File describes its structure as follows, "Al- coholics Anonymous is not organized in the formal or political sense. There are no governing officers, no rules or regulations, no fees or dues."46 Instead, the organization thrives based on a universal ideology. 133 Inspired by this, Beckstrom and Brafman created Global Peace Networks, an underground ring of ceos united by a common ideology for peace (and business). In 2003, these ceos initiated Track II diplomacy between India and Pakistan. Specifically, the actions opened the borders, enabled trade, and contributed to the end of the latest Indo-Pak war. The authors summarized their view toward innovation using a rule they call The Power of Chaos: "Starfish systems are wonderful incubators for cre- ative, destructive, innovative or crazy ideas. Anything goes. Good ideas will attract more people, and in a circle, they'll execute the plan. Institute order and rigid structure, and while you may achieve standardization, you'll also squelch creativity. Where creativity is valuable, learning to accept chaos is a must."47 Chaos should not be tempered with structure, it should be harnessed with ideology.

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