The dragonfly battleship

7 12 2015

“When a dragonfly flutters by, you may not realize, but it’s the greatest flier in nature.  It can hover, fly backwards, even upside down.” ~Louie Schwartzberg

Trekkies might remember “The Wrath of Khan” movie, where after a protracted battle in space (much like 2 battleships on the ocean), Captain Kirk won by finally realizing that they had been fighting in 2 dimensions (like ships on the flat sea).  The winning move was to move in the third direction (i.e. “up”), and then drop back down behind the bad guy.  Imagine a battleship that floated into a fog, turned into an airplane and got out of the way, and then dropped back down behind the enemy to end him.

That’s the definition of thinking outside the box.  As leaders, we’ve all had our team bring us problems that were “head scratchers”.  Our first instinct is to look into the past, and use our experience to try to solve it.  Sometimes, it’s a new, different type of problem that we have not experienced before.  When this happens, it’s not a weakness to throw a bunch of ideas against the whiteboard, and see what sticks.  Bring in your “skunkworks” team of people with very different thinking styles and personalities to the board.  No idea is a bad one – put them all up.  Sometimes 2 unrelated “meh” ideas can be stuck together for a winning outside-the-box strategy.

Speaking of hovering (and dragonflies)…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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