Harnessing Creative Dissatisfaction

Harnessing Creative Dissatisfaction

If we were completely satisfied, nothing would change.   There’d be no need for progress.  The lack of something we desire stimulates progress, it’s a basic human condition.

Last month I talked about my frustration about how difficult it can be to get hold of vital information within an organisation.  Driven by my desire to address this frustration I talked with somebody, whose business revolves around making vital financial information readily available, Adam Whittick of Spitfire Analytics.

During the conversation I was struck by the power of having detailed information available on tap. Furthermore, how information stimulates curiosity and how perceptive questions develop when we dig into what’s underneath the headline numbers.  Questioning ‘Why?’ and ‘What-if?’ creates new insights that drive further questions.

But lack of detailed information so often leads to guesswork and ‘finger in the air’ thinking.  

Business and entrepreneurship are driven by the desire for growth i.e. creative dissatisfaction. In the hands of the business, good information drives curiosity – the desire to understand why things are as they are.  Better understanding of the drivers of the status quo then allows us to challenge it. Asking the right questions and having the right information to answer those questions is essential for good business.  When curiosity is triggered, we think more deeply and rationally about decisions and conceive more creative solutions.   Curiosity creates alternatives.   However, the right information is often missing or difficult to get to. 

Furthermore, having the facts reduces friction and shared curiosity and exploration reduces group conflict. We hate having new realities inflicted on us, but we love finding new opportunities.   Collaboration creates better communication and team performance.

How often is the production of numbers in a business consigned to a few people in Finance?  How seldom do we get the opportunity to play with them – to understand the interconnections and relationships?

It seems that what we’re missing is more opportunities to ask ‘Why?’ and ‘What-if?’.   Numbers are not to be feared – they are to be questioned and explored.  

Sometimes we don’t know what we’re missing.