Difference: A book review by Bob Morris

DifferenceDifference: The one-page method for reimagining your business and reinventing your marketing
Bernadette Jiwa
The Story of Telling Press

How to combine difference thinking with empathy to reveal truth, recognize the opportunity in that truth, and then act on it

According to Bernadette Jiwa, Steve Jobs was a “difference thinker,” one who had a highly developed talent for connecting dots. In fact, it involves much more than that. “It’s about seeing the truth, recognising the opportunity in that truth and [begin italics] then [end italics] acting on it. You need to learn how to see the dots and understanding the significance of connecting them before you can begin. And you can do that only identifying with and understanding somebody else’s feelings and frustrations. That’s what Steve Jobs did intuitively; he had the ability to stand in a potential user’s shoes and understand the impact that an innovation and its design might have on that person’s life (and thus in the market). This is something you can train yourself to do.”

The Japanese term kaizen means continuous improvement and is a never-ending process, a philosophy, a business way-of-life, rather than a destination or specific project. The title of one of Marshall Goldsmith’s recent books suggests that “what got you here won’t get you there.” In fact, I presume to add, what got you here won’t even keep you here, wherever and what “here” may be. One of the most difficult challenges for business leaders is to make certain that their organization is significantly different (i.e. significantly better) from its competition but also from what it may be now. In fact, what has been a strength (size, scope, diversification of products, etc.) can become a weakness or vulnerability.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Jiwa’s coverage.

o Thinking Difference (Pages 1-3)
o The Lost Art of Marketing (11-14)
o The Secret of Disruptive Innovations (18-19)
o The Elephant in the Marketing Room: The Power of Emotions (20-22)
o What You Measure Matters, But What’s Hard to Measure Might Matter More (31-32)
o Rethink Groupthink (35-36)
o The Currency of the Future: Deeper Connections (39-41)
o Difference Core Principles (44-46)
o Using the Difference Map: Eleven mini-Case Studies (53-72)
o Using the Difference Map: The Template (74-75)
o How You Create Difference (77-79)

In essence, Jiwa suggests this approach: Creating difference “is about seeing things in a whole new light. It’s about re-imagining what the problem or the need might be, and then deciding that you [and your associates] will do whatever it takes to be the one to solve the problem for people. This approach leads to the creation of innovations and solutions that redefine the rules of the game, that reinvent a category or experience.”

I agree while suggesting that, when abandoning traditional mindsets, questioning long-held assumptions, and killing sacred cows, business leaders would be well-advised to keep in mind this observation by Richard Dawkins: “Yesterday’s dangerous idea is today’s orthodoxy and tomorrow’s clichĂ©.”

Posted in

Leave a Comment