Insights from The Click Moment by Frans Johansson

Frans Johansson wrote The Medici Effect, a book on the innovations possible through diverse intersections. In his new book The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World, Johannson writes about “the defining moment when luck and skill collide. This book is about making that moment happen.”

So often we can overanalyze and over-strategize. This book reminded me of a business version of Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby where he writes about finding where God is at work and joining Him or Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus where he helps us learn to “seize our divine moments.”

Of course, as a person of faith, it’s hard not to see connections to our work at advancing God’s Kingdom even when reading books like The Click Moment. I feel like Johansson gives compelling proof from the business world for a more intuitive approach to life and ministry.

Using examples including how Howard Schulz from Starbucks “discovered” espresso in Italy and brought it back to his company which was just selling coffee beans and machines for roasting beans or how the television show LOST was never supposed to become a series (at least not by the design of the writers), Johansson shares some of the following insights in how to create click moments, place purposeful bets, and harness complex forces:

Creating Click Moments

“A click moment represents a sudden opportunity, a turning point that can push us in a new, unpredictable, and random direction. These moments are powerful because they allow us to stumble upon ideas that are no obvious or logical – ideas that may enable us to outwit our competitors.”

1. Take Your Eyes Off The Ball

Focusing on our task at hand “makes it difficult to expose ourselves to the unplanned moments that enable us to uncover the ideas and opportunities others have not…. it actually pays to schedule time to do something unscripted and unplanned…. We need to free ourselves up to become aware of hidden opportunities and expose ourselves to significant click moments.”

2. Use Intersectional Thinking

“In the Medici Effect I went into great details about why these intersections can be so fruitful, but here I will simply say that diversity is the key to unleashing surprising and game-changing insights…. If you can find a connection between unlike ideas, the result is apt to be surprising….”

Johansson recommends the following approaches:

  • Purposefully Explore Fields, Cultures, and Industries Different From Your Own
  • Create Diverse Teams
  • Create A Collision-Prone Environment
  • Crash A Conference Or A Gathering
  • Look For Unlikely Impressions

3. Follow Your Curiosity

“Curiosity is the way your intuition tells you that something interesting is going on…. Curiosity propels you to keep digging until you connect the pieces.”

4. Reject the Predictable Path

“Actively rejecting the predictable insight leaves you nowhere else to go except making unpredictable, random connections. Some of those will click into place and ensure that, whatever solutions you come up with, they will set you apart.”

Placing Purposeful Bets

“The click moment is just the beginning of what has to happen in order to change the world. Someone actually has to make the idea happen for it to make a difference…. Taking action requires… an initial investment…. You are essentially placing a bet…. [Bets] with intent in mind [are] purposeful bets….

Making many small, purposeful bets, fueled by passion and calibrated by affordable loss… [allows us]… to channel the randomness in this world.”

1. Place Many Bets

“The more times you try, the better off you are.”

2. Minimize the Size of the Bets

“Smaller bets not only allow you more opportunities to get lucky – they allow for more iterations within any given idea because you get more shots at getting the project right.”

3. Take the Smallest Executable Step

“What step can you take that actually tests the validity of some aspect of your project? Design this smallest executable step as a test, and then get going….. [This] usually requires thinking very creatively about existing resources.”

4. Calculate Affordable Loss, Not Return on Investment

“The calculation allows you to determine if you (as an individual or organization) are in jeopardy if your project fails…. Is the potential loss from pursuing a failed idea affordable? If the organization… is in jeopardy if there is only once chance of getting it right, then it is not affordable and you have most likely not thought creatively about how to minimize the size of the bet.”

5. Use Passion As Fuel

“… the passion of the people involved… is the best way to understand if they will have the wherewithal to keep placing many bets.”

Harnessing Complex Forces

“I call these forces of randomness that allow for events and actions to change, build, and propagate in unexpected ways complex forces.”

Complex forces include the following:

  • “Unintended consequences… can provide an amazing opportunity for us to avoid our predictable, instinctive reactions.”
  • “A cascade is an action that has consequences that spread far beyond anything predicted or expected.”
  • “Self-reinforcing loops are situations where past success continually reinforces future success.”

“Can we… identify a way to trigger [these complex forces] on purpose? If we can… we would have a far better chance of making our organizations and ourselves successful, with far fewer resources.”

1. Create Large Hooks

“Do something, anything. Get started….

We are better off trying to create something for complex forces to hook onto, identify when one of our projects has been caught up in one, and then go for the gold.”

2. Take a Closer Look at Surprises

“Sometimes a surprise can reveal that we have an unexpected opportunity, one that may not last very long. If that is the case, we must move quickly because windows of opportunity can soon close.”

3. Look For An Opening

“Because it is impossible to fully control the events that occur around us, we must complex forces to our advantage. The constant reshuffling of actions, desires, and consequences causes windows of opportunity to open and close unexpectedly. The windows provide a pathway to breakthrough success…. We need to be prepared to make a quick decision before complex forces cause conditions to once again shift once again.”

4. Spot Momentum and Intensify

“Intensity can help us determine if an idea is about to be swept up by forces exponentially greater than any we could amass on our own.”

5. Double Down

“Doubling down means that you invest time, money, reputation, or other resources into the project with the expectation that it will not only continue to be successful but in fact go big….

We cannot control all of the complex events around us, but we can recognize when something is moving in our direction and when events unfold to our benefit.”

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