When thinking about how to grow or improve your business, you might be looking for answers in all the wrong places. As soon as you search Google, phone a friend or ask the audience, you limit your findings to what already exists. Copying so-called competitors, imitating others in your field or watching documentaries pale into insignificance compared to the power of your unrestrained mind.
Thought experiments imagine a parallel universe. Within each experiment, no constraints exist. In a dreamlike state, you can wonder around and visualise anything at all. Physics, biology, space and time can be adapted to suit your needs. Anything you can imagine can exist within your thought experiment. In letting yourself dream and play with ideas, you might hit upon something awesome.
95% of a human’s daily thoughts are exactly the same as the day before. The repetition continues until something changes.
The businesses and solutions that will transform the future are dreamed up by expansive minds, making thought experiments game-changing concepts for entrepreneurs to utilize. Here are seven to try this week.
1. Unlimited resources
Land, labour and capital. Let’s imagine you have each in abundance. At your service is all the space you ask for, countless brilliant team members, plus a bottomless pit of cash. What would you do? If money was no object, capacity was no bother and anything you imagine could be built to exceptional standards by your team, where would you invest and what would you create?
If your remit was to make impact on a colossal scale whilst building the business of your dreams and living the life reserved for movie stars, what decisions would you make? Who would you hire, what plans would you have drawn up? How would you take the absence of limits and create awe for all?
2. Distortion of time
In this parallel universe, you control time. You have the power to speed up or slow down time and can apply different rules to different matters. Slow the clock for your pet spaniel so he lives forever, but race through hours for your petri dish experiment so you can assess the long-term effect. Speed your way through reading books or learning languages and stop time completely when you need longer to solve a tricky problem.
If you could distort time at your whim, what would you do? Where do you need a little longer and what are you impatiently wishing would happen sooner? Whilst you can’t revisit the past, you can keep the present indefinitely. What would you keep the same and what would you command hurried by?
3. Playing with scale
Imagine you have everything you have now, but multiplied by ten, then one hundred, then one thousand, then ten thousand. If you own one venue, imagine you run a hundred. If you have twenty clients, imagine you have twenty thousand. Picture your profit and loss showing a hundred times existing revenue. Do the same for your Instagram followers, website authority, inbound enquiries and customers.
With your business at this new scale, what do you do? What does your day-to-day look like and how do you spend your time? Which systems break down and what do you do to fix them? What do you put in place to maintain this scale indefinitely? What do you love about your new reality?
4. Cloning power
In this thought experiment, you have taken delivery of a cloning machine. Anything you like can be put into the machine, and out comes a perfectly functioning replica. You can clone your breakfast, your products, even yourself. You can clone your business partner, every machine you own and your favourite pair of socks.
If you cloned yourself, once and once again, what would you do? With three times the capacity, attention and hands, where would you go and who would you meet? Combine this with the unlimited resources from thought experiment number one and imagine what this trio of you could make happen.
5. Magic wand
A magic wand is in your hands and its power is electrifying. This magic wand can fix any problem. After creating perfect solutions they are swooshed into place. Your business hurdles disappear and the wand’s magic works to conceal all blemishes. Any niggle or glitch can be gone in an instant, just point and swish and the obstacle is overcome. You speedily wave each challenge aside before moving onto the next.
With this magic wand in your possession waiting for orders, what are you telling it to do? Where do you point, where do you swish? What are those things that, if solved, would clear your path and change your trajectory? Open all the cupboards, go into every room, unpack every box, and find everything less than perfect to put right in seconds.
6. Infinite technology
In the third thought experiment, technology knows no bounds. Artificial intelligence has reached its limit and can do anything upon request. 3D printers can create any material to any specification, sensors can detect any change in any metric and run reports that robots analyse. DNA can be adapted to suit any requirements and robotics can do any task a human or programme can, with one hundred percent accuracy.
In this world, where technology can create anything your mind can conceive, what would you ask for? How would your business adapt to make use of the power at its fingertips? How much more could you serve your audience, in better ways, faster and with better results? Imagine inserting yourself into the Matrix and knowing that limits do not exist. Where would you start?
7. Open doors
Knock on any door and it shall open. Be welcomed inside any house, any castle, any palace. Have dinner with any person who has ever lived in the comfort of their home, whilst their housekeeper serves you refreshments. Have their ear and their undivided attention as you ask any question. In the final thought experiment, you can access anyone, anywhere. They can be your coach, your mentor, your business partner or your wingman. They graciously accept any role you bestow upon them.
If you knew for sure the door would you open, which would you knock? Who would you visit, what would you ask, which route would you take? Whose advice would you request, whose second opinion would mean the most? Who would you ask for which favour? In your company’s imaginary dream team, who holds which title? What can you gain from the minds of the people you meet?
Expansive thinkers aren’t scrolling news sites or looking for inspiration in what already exists. They aren’t limited by the constraints of tried-and-tested and they seek blue sky, not blueprints. Find the thought experiment that captures your imagination and have some fun. Be certain that the breakthroughs you seek exist in your mind, and they are waiting to be found.