16925778001_b4f3379761_oThe other day, the following quote was posted in a Facebook group on innovation that I participate in.

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door” – Coco Chanel, founder of Chanel.

My first response was snarky – this is why I own a reciprocating saw. Wall plus saw equals door.

But then I started thinking a little bit deeper about the questions that we should be asking when we run into a wall and start banging on it.

  • Why do I want there to be a door here?
  • Is the door the solution or the problem?
  • Why did the designer/builder put the door someplace else?
  • Would I get to where I want to go by taking a different door?
  • Do I have the patience to bang away until I create a door? Is doing that a realistic expectation?
  • If I had different tools or resources, could I create a door here?

Sometimes we come up against barriers that we can’t move and we’re stuck with the one solution that we found first – banging against the door. As Coco Chanel indicates, blindly banging away does nothing. Asking ourselves about why we are doing it and what we want can help us re-frame the challenge ahead of us.

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