It’s All About Time: How Companies Innovate and Why Some Do It Better

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Release Date: 
July 26, 2010
Pioneer Imprints
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“. . . provides a brief introduction to an important subject with vast significance.”

Enhancing effectiveness is central to the idea of human progress as well as a priority for ambitious individuals in any competitive situation.

Arguably, the more competitive a society becomes the more important effectiveness becomes at the individual, team, and enterprise level. This unassailable proposition—the core argument for the premise of MindTime, which concerns how different individuals perceive time and is reflected in their Time Style—is explored in It’s All About Time.

MindTime embraces the three time perspectives of past/present/future, which may be employed in varying degrees in different circumstances. Matching the right time frame to the particulars of what is to be assessed, decided, and implemented can greatly improve the prospects for successful outcomes, especially in circumstances involving innovation.

John Furey asserts that much more is known about the physical world than the “world we inhabit with our minds . . . the imaginary world of our thoughts . . . the abstract world . . . of ideas and their reinforcing dialogue. This is the world of time . . . our inner world of time is as significant as our outer world.”

He is not unambitious in making his claim that his concept of MindTime “Is poised to become one of the most fundamental ways of understanding people in psychology, and by extension, in marketing and the business world.”

Thinking in the context of time has a long history, for as the author writes, “All humans (except for a few isolated cultures) mentally view the world through these lenses of past, present, and future. Time is what gives dimensionality to thought. Time gives rise to the three most fundamental thoughts we humans can conceive of: certainty, probability, and possibility. These three primary concepts influence every thought that we think, and they have a profound effect on how we see the world and engage with it.”

It’s All About Time offers an invaluable insight into understanding how thinking processes influence the likely success of innovation initiatives. While “MindTime is a universal organizing principle,” the author offers a trio of depictions of “the worlds of MindTime innovation,” embracing organization life, brand behaviors, and market applications.

This insight is most timely as policy makers and leaders are more and more recognizing that innovation is central to the future of developed economies, for mature industries are increasingly being restructured and subjected to aggressive competition from lower cost suppliers in other economies.

The author provocatively asserts that while the best innovation thinking sequence is future/past/present, most such innovative initiatives proceed “from Future to Present and only after there has been a failure, to Past.” Instead of deliberating on the consequences of implementing a bright idea, the quest to be first to market and the natural intuitive process to move forward combine to deprioritize past thinking. This propensity to act fast and downplay reflection tracks the conclusion of Daniel Kahneman’s majestic “Thinking, Fast and Slow.” John Furey writes that what “seems to be perfectly intuitive . . . lies at the root of our failed thinking process.

“To produce the best results with our thinking we have to do what only humans apparently, have learned how to do: bend time.

“In our minds we can quite literally move the Past so that it sits between the Future and the Present in our thinking sequence. Future, Past, and Present. Why would we do this? Why would we mess with the usual order of time? To gain clarity and enhance creativity. This is the secret of MindTime.”

The author’s favored approach, which he labels the Wheel of Innovation, involves the sequence of (1) Future, emphasizing creating and the playing with possibilities, (2) Present, concerning integration and assessing probabilities, and (3) Past, focusing on validation and seeking certainty.

The ideas behind MindTime, the author reports, have been explored in numerous applications including leadership, collaboration, human performance, innovation, employee wellness and job satisfaction, education, sales, conflict resolution, time awareness, client engagement, global business, advertising and marketing, web analytics, audience segmentation, and brand behaviors.

John Furey advances a model of MindTime archetypes, reflecting which time emphasis and combination that an individual might employ; two are favored over just one, and all three combined is preferred. The 10 Mind Frame archetypes are integrated: past, past/present, past future; present, present/future, present/past; future, future/past, future/present.

This concise, clearly and appealingly designed book provides a brief introduction to an important subject with vast significance. Inquisitive readers will want to consult the author’s website resources and take the Mind Style profile to learn more about their TimeStyle.

While this book merits wide readership, it is hopeful that the author will soon produce a more fully developed book examining the influences of Time Style and exploring more comprehensively the implications of MindTime for individuals, relationships, and society.