I have been a right-brainer since birth. Every single personality test I’ve taken confirms this. My decisions are based on intuitive thinking — knowing without reasoning. As a businesswoman, I’ve struggled with this. And during the early years at BBR, I consciously made great strides to change myself with a daily dose of affirmations: “I am organized. I am organized. I must keep this receipt. I must keep this receipt. I understand this balance sheet. I understand this balance sheet.”
Perhaps the affirmations worked. Or perhaps it was my intuitive thinking in action. But I have always understood that great success comes when you have both left- and right-brain thinking — that meets somewhere in the middle.
This thought was confirmed recently when I heard Roger Martin speak at the American Institute of Graphic Arts Conference in Memphis. Martin is currently the dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and has written and published several books related to business.
Martin compared analytical-driven businesses to intuitive businesses. Analytical types are driven by statistics, research, systems and procedures. All of which are important components when building success. However, the downside is when a business is held within the confines of systems, no new ideas emerge. Martin mentioned no new inventions have ever come from the “prove it” theory. On the flip side, intuitive businesses have tons of great ideas and innovations but they falter in their lack of system to enhance productivity and increase profitability.
Martin’s solution? Meld the two together. A business that combines right-brain innovators with left-brain taskmasters — has the perfect business model that Martin calls design thinking. It is essential for the growth and sustainability of emerging businesses as well as established businesses.
The bottom line: Get your systems in place. Let your innovators think. And meet somewhere in the middle. And in case you were wondering, I can properly evaluate a balance sheet and I get my receipts in on time — sometimes. But I’m still not very organized.
Learn more about design thinking in Martin’s book, The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage.