Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 7th 2013 Contents BG30 | BUSINESS NOTES
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK ONE
Entrepreneurs often stand
as the metaphorical
David against huge goals
that appear like Goliaths
in their paths to success.
The goals can seem unreachable and
the challenges insurmountable.
David used a slingshot to defeat
his enemy. For entrepreneurs and
business leaders, Gabor George Burt
recommends "The Slingshot Frame-
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Gabor
George Burt is an internationally
recognised expert on innovation and
creativity. His work focuses on how
they both relate to business strategy
development. He holds a degree from
Amherst College in psychology as
well as an MBA degree from INSEAD,
one of the world s leading graduate
In essence, Gabor s Slingshot
Framework is an actionable guide for
connecting creativity to leadership
and business strategy. It s based on
the key premise that you can never
have a continually satisfied customer.
The most you can have is an infat-
uated customer. In order to infatuate
your customer on a long-term basis,
you must provide work or lifestyle
enrichment that s relevant to them.
"We have the opportunity to con-
tinuously re-infatuate our target audi-
ence," said Gabor during his TED
Talk in 2011. But this re-infatuation
can only be done through innovation.
"Without continuous innovation
and a vision to be market driving, an
entire region or economy can quickly
There s a good reason why this
strategy is named after one of the
world s simplest children s toys.
"The image of a slingshot is sym-
bolic of the framework in many ways,"
Gabor said in an interview with The
Executive Search Blog in 2012.
As children, our imagination is lim-
itless. We can dream of infinite pos-
sibilities and believe them to be true.
As we get older, however, our thinking
becomes more restricted and confined
within the rules of conventional wis-
dom. This severely limits our problem
solving capabilities, says Gabor. We
live in a fast-paced world that s
changing continuously. New problems
can t be solved using old methods.
Between September 2009 and Jan-
uary 2010, IBM interviewed more
than 1,500 CEOs and investigated
what was the most important quality
they need to be successful in the cur-
rent business climate. An overwhelm-
ing majority of the CEOs responded
that Creativity was the most impor-
tant quality that would ensure current
and future business success.
How can re-engaging childhood
creativity manifest itself into tangible
Burt is the chief architect of the
Immersive Executive Experience
series, an exclusive forum for exec-
utives who want to explore the
advantages of adventurous learning.
He is actively involved in shaping
strategy for a diverse group of clients
ranging from Fortune 500 companies
to successful start-ups. His advice
to CEOs on becoming more creative
leaders is to embrace their imagina-
tion and capitalise on the collective
imagination of your organisation.
"Look upon components of your
environment as building blocks to
combine and repackage with your
current offering in meaningful new
ways," says Burt. "Doing this will
enable you to continuously push the
boundaries of your business for
The same applies to entrepreneurs
who are launching new products into
the marketplace. Gabor advises com-
panies should no longer strive to cre-
ate perfect ready-made products.
Rather, they should seek to offer the
market the optimal amount of cus-
tomisable option that virtually allows
the consumer to create the perfect
product themselves. Product person-
alisation is the name of the game.
Take the example of Lego in 2010.
Businessweek observed: "Kids with
LEGO sets were once content to fol-
low instructions and assemble a toy.
If the picture on the box was a bat-
tleship, that s what you built---unless
you decided to skip the instructions,
mix in other blocks, and build mutant
battleships instead. LEGO s
DesignByME site brings some
order to this chaos, offering dig-
ital design tools so kids can create
a toy entirely from their imag-
ination. When satisfied, they
simply zip their creation to the
company. LEGO will then man-
ufacture the parts and send them
in a box the kids also designed."
One of the counter-arguments
to Gabor s methods is that in
this current difficult economic
climate, it s difficult to focus on
innovation and creativity when
they re focused on maintaining
their bottom line.
"A period of adversity is also
a period of opportunity. It just
depends on your perspective,"
he says. Therefore, it s not
implicitly necessary to trade
vision for practicality. Rather,
the trade-off should be between
a rigid view of circumstances
entrenched in the status quo and
a more creative, proactive and
With a slingshot you apply
tension to an elastic material to
launch a projectile forward. This
is symbolic of how the strategy
works. "Itenables us to contin-
uously apply tension against self-
imposed mental boundaries,
thereby launching us forward to
Innovation Forum T&T
So how can local entrepre-
neurs, business leaders and pol-
icymakers learn and apply these
strategies to innovate in a local
context? The Innovation Forum
is here to answer that question.
The conference, hosted by the
Council for Competitiveness and
Innovation (CCI), is an event
that s designed to engender a
culture of sustainable innovation
in T&T. The goal of the event is
to expose entrepreneurs and
innovators to a tool set of cut-
ting-edge strategies that will take
them from creative business idea
to market readiness seamlessly.
There will also be sessions for
policymakers in the public sector
on the role they play in creating
the conditions where such inno-
vations and creativity can thrive.
Gabor George Burt will be
the keynote speaker at the
conference which takes place
on November 19 at the Hyatt
Regency Trinidad hotel, Port-
of-Spain. For more
information, visit the
Innovation Forum's Web site:
www. Iforumtt.com or e-mail
them at: email@example.com.
Gabor Burt to speak
at Innovation Forum
GABOR GEORGE BURT
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