Going in Reverse



Sometimes flipping your perspective leads to innovation. A number of years ago, I got to meet the great bicycle visionary, Dick Ryan. I have always been a big bike fan, and quite by accident got to see Dick’s prototype, the Avatar, a recumbent bicycle. In conceiving it, Dick flipped the concept of upright riding, and refined a kick back, lie back bicycle that immediately changed your perspective and yielded a far more comfortable ride. I just loved the feeling and as soon as they went into production, I bought one. And I have loved riding it for years.

Reversing doesn’t always yield respect though. Sometimes the spandex speedsters make fun of me, all smiles going slowly up a hill. They grimace, and yell, “Doesn’t that go faster.” My reply always is, “I got this to slow down.” They never say anything to me on downhills as the recumbent turns into a luge!

We teach this technique along with 27 others, to help people refine their innovative thinking skills. Flipping perspective can be a conscious choice, and you can get better at it with practice. It’s helpful to see other’s perspectives, and it develops the ability to see rather than just look. In our work, we call it the Reversing technique, and it’s a powerful way to gain insights not ordinarily available to us. Reversing often develops empathy and is an essential component to design thinking.

If you are ever near our headquarters and want to change your perspective, I am always willing to give you a ride on the Vanguard, Dick’s production name for his original Avatar. Come by and experience getting “bent” as they say in the lingo of recumbent riders. And, if you’d like to discuss our ITS (The Innovative Thinking System) workshop or become a trainer of ITS, give us a shout, McNeil Consulting is the Master Trainer company for the US market. We’d love to talk to you about turning work into play. Watch out for me and others on our recumbents. We see things differently.

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