‘Corkscrew Thinking’ came to prominence in the Second World War, when Winston Churchill used it to describe some of the great but unconventional operations that helped the Allies overcome Hitler.
He used it as a definition for those with creative problem-solving skills who could break away from traditional linear ways of thinking to dream up game-changing solutions to huge problems.
Churchill’s corkscrew thinkers most famously came up with the famous Operation Mincemeat, an elaborate plan to convince the Germans that the Allied armies would invade Greece, not Sicily, leading German troops in the wrong direction at a critical time.
Skills like thinking out of the Boxx (sorry we couldn’t resist that one!) are becoming rarer – and thus valued – in large part due to changes to our education system over the past few decades, which have ensured teaching to the test and promoted standardisation as the norm.
Thinking out of the box, therefore, is needed more than ever in our modern society. It is entrepreneurs who most embody the spirit of corkscrew thinking. Routinely taking risks and gambling on innovative solutions that others in their comfort zones ultimately don’t see. These visionaries understand that the most appropriate solution is not always the easiest – or the one that everyone else sees.
Luckily we can all develop corkscrew thinking in our own lives – and in our businesses.
Here are our top tips:
1) Accept that creativity is a process that does not thrive under pressure, so allow it time to breathe and develop. The first idea for a solution for any problem is rarely the best – time invested in this stage is likely to pay dividends further on. A solution that stands you apart from your competitors is always the aim – and these take time (otherwise everyone else would have thought of them too!)
2) Don’t be afraid of sharing your ideas widely. Not only does this hone your pitch, but it widens the scope of feedback and so ultimately creates a better end product or process.
3) Take risks – leaps of faith are sometimes a necessary step.
4) Accept you will fail – maybe more than once. But try to learn the lessons in each case, and use them in the future.
5) It is often said there are no truly new ideas – so be inspired by the world around you, and let existing ideas collide and evolve into something new.