Do You Have a Meteorite Plan?
Some of the best innovations we've had in business come from what I call the Meteorite Plan. The premise is, what would you do if a huge meteorite crashed directly into your problem, destroying it and the framework for it in one fell swoop? Your visualization of this scenario may vary (you can replace the meteorite with any sort of disaster) but the results will provide you with a new perspective based on needs, not limitations.
The Meteorite Plan works best with a problem that has many layers of complexity with few signs of planning or logic. Think of the cables behind your TV, DVR, DVD, Game Systems, and all the audio. They're a mess -- interconnected, overlapping, many are not connected to anything, and you might even have a few that are relics from your old record player. The very idea of adding or changing one component frightens you and makes you crazy. You want to solve the mess and get a useful system working.
Sure, you could go through the wires and try to organize them, but that's a flawed plan. You will end up using only the tools at your disposal (your current equipment) to try to remedy the situation. And although it may solve the problem for a little while, your solution isn't bringing you much new value, and it's most certainly not the best plan for you in the long run. So all the time you spend on it would bring you a marginal benefit at best.
Think now about working the Meteorite Plan. If a meteorite came through your house and destroyed your whole living room, how would you rebuild? While you'd have to start from scratch, you would be free from the burdens of the wires, old components and archaic structure. You could start anew with an integrated system. You might consider the whole house server, a wireless system, or a few HDMI cables to cut the clutter. Or, you might realize that you don't use half of the products and replacing them is not worth it.
The clarity that comes from this exercise is that you see what you would do if you were not encumbered by any of your current limitations. The answers you come up with often guide your decision-making process by showing you what you really need and not how to work with what you have. It often produces what seems at surface level to be drastic plans for change, but in almost every case, the improvement is exponentially better and long overdue.
So before you pour more money down the drain of your proprietary software system or 100-year-old manufacturing process, think of what would happen if it were gone. What would you do if you didn't have the system? How would you get by without it? By shifting your focus and imagining your life without it, you just might get rid of the headaches that go along with it too.