Strategy’s Success Can Start With Taboo

I recently led a strategic thinking and planning program with a Fortune 500 company. During the Value Mining exercise in which the group explored new areas to deliver value to customers, one idea was met with the comment, “That’s taboo around here.” Others agreed, but a few asked the question, “Why?”

We then discussed other ideas that were traditionally taboo:

Getting into a stranger’s car.

Letting a stranger enter your home.

Sharing your personal details with lots of people.

Each of these once taboo ideas has become a multi-billion dollar business. Uber has turned getting into a strangers car a convenient and efficient means of transportation.

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 9.22.15 AM

Airbnb has taken the idea of letting a stranger enter your home and stay overnight into a new source of income for millions of people. And Facebook has made sharing one’s most personal details as common as hitting a “Like” button.

Taboo is defined as “Proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable.” Consider your business. What types of things are currently considered improper or unacceptable? Now play with those ideas and see if transforming them can add value to someone in your ecosystem. If so, maybe taboo isn’t.