Blackberries and experiments

In 2009, Blackberry phones were all the rage. Remember those days? You’d be sitting on the train minding your own business while a fully grown man in a suit was seated next to you, hunched over and furiously typing away on an impossibly small, toddler-sized keyboard. At the time the company controlled almost 50 per cent of the smartphone market and everyone from Bill Gates, to Oprah, was adamant that they couldn’t live without their Blackberries. 

Cut to five years later and the company’s market share had gone from 50% to 1% and the fully grown man next to you was instead playing Angry Birds or Paper Toss on his iPhone (seriously, remember these games?). 

In his best-selling book Think Again, the brilliant Adam Grant uses this example as a cautionary tale to make the case for business leaders to think more like scientists. Scientists, he argues, are always curious about what they don’t know and what they can learn. They’re constantly coming up with experiments and hypotheses to test the norms and beliefs they’ve always had.

So now it’s over to you: what might you experiment with this week?

If you’re feeling stuck, try picking one of these 10:

1. Experiment with having no meetings for one day.

2. Experiment with only asking questions in your next meeting.

3. Experiment with leaving your phone turned off for a full day.

4. Experiment with a new morning routine.

5. Experiment with a new nighttime routine.

6. Experiment with doing the opposite of what you would normally do (and make George Constanza proud).

7. Experiment with only checking your emails twice a day (10am and 3pm).

8. Experiment with a standing desk.

9. Experiment with a walking meeting.

10. Experiment with a 200-word count limit in your emails