Peter Sims is an author, speaker, and entrepreneur. His latest book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, from Simon & Schuster: Free Press. Previously he was the coauthor with Bill George of True North, the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book. He also worked in venture capital with Summit Partners, a leading investment company, including as part of the team that established the firm’s London office.Peter’s keynote talk will address...
What do Thomas Edison, Chris Rock, and Jeff Bezos all have in common?
Answer: An understanding that the biggest ideas spring forth from a series of small discoveries, reworked to achieve a great result.
Based on over 200 interviews with successful creators and innovators, Sims demonstrates that the kind of linear problem-solving and fear of failure we were conditioned to embrace actively thwarts creativity. Whether it’s Steve Jobs or architect Frank Gehry or the “braintrust” at Pixar, there is no complete plan or vision at the outset. Rather, through a process of trying and failing in incremental ways, they gain critical information as they go from one small, experimental step to the next – which eventually lead to extraordinary breakthroughs. These so-called “little bets” helped spark the ideas that led to companies like Twitter and blockbuster movies like the Toy Story franchise. We can learn to think and work like those we think of as geniuses – failing fast to learn quickly, trying imperfect ideas, focusing on finding problems rather than solving them, and practicing highly immersed observation – to turn our own little bets into big successes.