May 26, 2011

News & Opinion: LeaveSmarter with Peter Sims

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:43 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity

We were overjoyed to have Peter Sims in town earlier this week for our LeaveSmarter* series. We first became aware of Peter when he coauthored True North with Bill George, which was a favorite of ours when it came out, and one of our bestsellers in 2007 and 2008 (and, coincidentally, Bill was in town to speak about True North at a previous LeaveSmarter event). So, we were really excited when we saw Mr. Sims had a book of his own coming out. That book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, released last month by Free Press. The book is based the idea that you don't need a big idea to get into or change your business; you simply need to take small, experimental steps to see what works and consolidate small victories. Or, as Peter puts it in the introduction to the book:
Little Bets is based on the proposition that we can use a lot of little bets and certain creative methods to identify possibilities and 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. They begin as creative possibilities that get iterated and refined over time, and they are particularly valuable when trying to navigate amid uncertainty, create something new, or attend to open-ended problems. When we can’t know what’s going to happen, little bets help us learn about the factors that can’t be understood beforehand. The important thing to remember is that while prodigies are exceptionally rare, anyone can use little bets to unlock creative ideas.
As you can see from the pictures below, the event was held in lovely environs, amongst the "Man at Work" collection in The Milwaukee School of Engineering's Grohmann Museum . I took video of the event, but I am no video expert, so we'll have to wait until Jon gets back from BEA next week to see if it's up to par and get it on the site. In the meantime, you should check out Peter's Little Bets manifesto at ChangeThis.

*We began our LeaveSmarter series in 2006 to bring nationally recognized business thinkers and their books to our hometown. M&I Bank approached us soon after the first event to discuss partnering with us on the series and, along with local law firm Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, they have been the series sponsor ever since. If you're interested in partnering with us to create a future event, let's talk. You can contact me at dylan[at]800ceoread[dot]com.