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A matter of perspectives

“Think Different”, said the famous 1997 Apple advertisement. Excellent advice, obviously, to all creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

But, along with thinking differently in order to come up with revolutionary new ideas or products, there is also seeing differently. Great creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs look at the world in ways that are different from how many of us look at things. This is why they see opportunities that other people miss.

But how to stop seeing the world in the familiar way and start seeing it in unfamiliar and generative ways? Sherlock Holmes famously said once to Watson: “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.” When we look at the world, we should examine with a deliberately different perspective, come up with new names for ordinary things, break things up (or down) into pieces.

We need to counter our built-in tendency to habituate, to sink into the familiar way of seeing and experiencing. By seeing differently, we can end up seeing what no one else has yet seen. This is how the future is built.

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