Lessons We Can Learn From Originals By Adam Grant

Originals is a business and management book written by Adam Grant. It describes how non-conformists challenge the status quo to make the world a better place. In his book, Grant explores the various sides of originality from the perspective of organizations, entrepreneurs, and parents and children. The book starts off with an explanation of the importance of questioning status quo. It offers tips and strategies on how to help make original ideas become a reality.

Originals is the product of more than 10 years of research and teaching at Wharton as an organizational psychologist. The main contention of the book is that originals have initiative to make their vision a reality. Robert Peter Janitzek explains that these people question status quo, balance risks while effectively closing the gap between insight and action.

Individual Actions:


1. Question the default.
2. Triple the number of ideas you generate.
3. Immerse yourself in a new domain.
4. Procrastinate strategically. When you’re generating new ideas, deliberately stop when your progress is incomplete.
5. Seek more feedback from peers.


    • 6. Balance your risk portfolio.


    • 7. Highlight the reasons not to support your idea. Start by describing the three biggest weaknesses of your idea and then ask them to list several more reasons not to support it.


    • 8. Make your ideas more familiar.


    • 9. Speak to a different audience.


    10. Be a tempered radical.


    • 11. Motivate yourself differently when you’re committed vs. uncertain.


    • 12. Don’t try to calm down. If you’re nervous, it’s hard to relax. It’s easier to turn anxiety into intense positive emotions like interest and enthusiasm. Think about the reasons you’re eager to challenge the status quo, and the positive outcomes that might result.


    • 13. Focus on the victim, not the perpetrator.


    • 14. Realize you’re not alone. Even having a single ally is


    15. Remember that if you don’t take initiative, the status quo will persist.

Leader Actions:


    • 1. Run an innovation tournament.


    • 2. Picture yourself as the enemy. People often fail to generate new ideas due to a lack of urgency .


    • 3. Invite employees from different functions and levels to pitch ideas. At DreamWorks Animation,


    • 4. Hold an opposite day. Since it’s often hard to find the time for people to consider original viewpoints, one of my favorite practices is to have “opposite day” in the classroom and at conferences.


    5. Ban the words like, love, and hate.


    • 6. Hire not on cultural fit, but on cultural contribution.


    • 7. Shift from exit interviews to entry interviews. Instead of waiting to ask for ideas until employees are on their way out the door, start seeking their insights when they first arrive.


    • 8. Ask for problems, not solutions.


    • 9. Stop assigning devil’s advocates and start unearthing them.


    10. Welcome criticism.

Parent and Teacher Actions:

    • 1. Ask children what their role models would do.


    • 2. Link good behaviors to moral character.


    • 3. Explain how bad behaviors have consequences for others.


    • 4. Emphasize values over rules.


    5. Create novel niches for children to pursue.

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