Why Novel Approaches Shouldn’t Be Novel

Do you remember that time in school when you learned a novel approach to solve a problem? Do you remember when your teacher presented a puzzle in class, and you had to give out the answer the next day? You figured out the solution on your own and didn’t want to share the process with others. We’ve all had our own moments where we held on to a secret and won.

But does it always matter? To hold on to secrets? Will it always help you stay ahead of the competition? Will the secret help you get better tomorrow? What about the day after? And then the day after that? You have one secret to protect, and when that is out of the bag, what will you do?

I believed that having a secret and safeguarding it would keep us ahead of the competition. Over time, I have realised that holding secrets are not what will keep us ahead, but throwing them out in the open will. We never even revealed stuff to our customers—a process optimisation, ideas to bring down costs, etc. But now, we share these with our customers freely. I’m pretty sure some of them will leak it to our competitors too, but I’m no longer scared of that. Why? For these reasons:

  • When we let these cats out of the bag, we make room for more. It helps keep the fire alive. It keeps us on our toes and helps us zero in on the next idea or the next avenue for improvement. 
  • Also, we don’t have to worry about safeguarding the “one secret” that keeps us ahead of the competition. There’s always the risk of the secret getting out, and we end up losing all the time and energy put in to keep it secret. Instead, we can expend the same energy to improve the product or service and satisfy customers! Win-win for everyone!

Cover Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

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