Little Bets

 Peter Sims has a reputation in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, and in his book “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries” he explores the small steps of big successes.
This book is based on the proposition that “we can make a lot of little bets and be creative in identifying possibilities that build up to great outcomes. At the core of this experimental approach, little bets are concrete actions taken to discover, test and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable,” as the author puts it. The little bets are only possibilities in the beginning but they become refined over time. They create incomparable opportunities and gradually open the gates to big achievements. However, we don’t know which little bet or which attempt will bring success; the number of little bets is definitive in creating ultimate results. This approach is very useful to unlock creative ideas.
Popular opinion may suggest that only certain people are brilliant creators. The secret behind their successes is generally considered to be their creative minds. However, Sims suggests that “the tremendous value of attaining innovative and creative outcomes through an experimental approach has long been neglected. … When uncertainty replaces certainty or when we lack insight, experience or expertise about problems, experimental innovation is a far better approach.” Most successful entrepreneurs, especially those who start their businesses with limited capital, operate in this experimental way when trying new ideas. As the story goes, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook story started after an argument with his girlfriend. He started Facemash and afterwards he was hired as a programmer, finally he started his own business, Facebook.
Michael Jordan’s elder brother Larry Jordan was an unbeatable figure for Michael Jordan. When the two brothers played basketball, Larry always got the better of Michael. Michael had to work hard to defeat his older brother in basketball. The amount of time and effort he put into beating his brother in basketball enabled him to become one of the best basketball players of all times. The little bet to bet better than his brother led to Michael Jordan’s success.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s initial goal was to solve a small problem: How to prioritize library searches online. Finding the solution in a specific algorithm, they used this algorithm not only for library searches but for general search engines on the Internet and so they created Google.
Peter Sims provides “a set of creative methodologies for solving problems and generating ideas that is based on building up solutions, rather than starting with the answer.”
Experiment, Play, Immerse, Define, Reorient and Iterate are the main actions of little bets approach. The book describes these actions as:
“– Experiment: Learn by doing. Fail quickly to learn fast. Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights, identify problems, and build up to creative ideas, like Beethoven did in order to discover new musical styles and forms.
— Play: A playful, improvisational, and humorous atmosphere quiets our inhibitions when ideas are incubating or newly hatched, and prevents creative ideas from being snuffed out or prematurely judged.
— Immerse: Take time to get out into the world to gather fresh ideas and insights, in order to understand deeper human motivations and desires, and absorb how things work from the ground up.
— Define: Use insights gathered throughout the process to define specific problems and needs before solving them, just as the Google founders did when they realized that their library search algorithm could address a much larger problem.
— Reorient: Be flexible in pursuit of larger goals and aspirations, making good use of small wins to make necessary pivots and chart the course to completion.
— Iterate: Repeat, refine, and test frequently armed with better insights, information, and assumptions as time goes on.”
“Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries” is a very action provoking book, making readers to take small initiatives in their lives.
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