One Idea Can Change Everything: Learning To Strategically Shift Your Perspective  by@sergeykrasotin

One Idea Can Change Everything: Learning To Strategically Shift Your Perspective

A shift in perspective can come from a change in markets, a newly discovered trend, an unexpected collaboration, or a second stroke of inspiration. In the mid-1970, Alvin Roth was studying matching markets at the University of Illinois when he came across the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) which helped match students with hospitals for residency jobs. Roth updated the algorithm and applied his engineering principles to mathematics and economics. He shifted the perspective and allowed for the application of nuances around human behavior and how that can be built into a system, something Gale and Shapely hadn't considered.
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Sergey Krasotin

Design Director & Co-Founder at Humbleteam. Startup mentor at Seedcamp, Wework and other accelerators.

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There are no limitations to where an idea can take you if you open yourself up to every opportunity.

You know the lightbulb moment. Where an idea clicks into place and becomes ready for action. It’s the spark of inspiration and what great inventors of the past and present state as the beginning of their epic story. 

Startups founders, and all those with lightbulb ideas, often busy themselves with a burdensome amount of daily work, but building specialized teams to relieve some of these daily obligations helps to provides the mental space for possible strategic shifts in perspective.

It may feel counterintuitive, but the ability to take a step back and look at the broader applications of your idea while continuing to further your initial cause can be a considerable advantage to the success of your end goals. A shift in perspective can come from a change in markets, a newly discovered trend, an unexpected collaboration, or a second stroke of inspiration.

How can shifting your perspective around an idea lead you to amazing discoveries? Read on to find out how one unlikely perspective shift resulted in a life-changing innovation.

A Market Matching Algorithm that Finds Love and Saves Lives

In the early 1960s, two mathematicians named Lloyd Shapley and David Gale focused their work on matching markets and, in doing so, were the first to recognize matching markets as a subject of Game Theory. Game Theory studies complicated situations where players’ decisions and outcomes are inter dependable. These situations are also known as strategic interactions. When looking at Game Theory through an economic lens, these situations can be identified as markets. When Shapely and Gale decided to apply economics to Game Theory, they agreed to do so regarding matching markets. For them, it was the idea of creating an algorithm that would match up perfect pairs, specifically love matches. They referred to their research as the “stable marriage problem.”

Gale and Shapley created an algorithm to support the hypothesis that any group can intermarry into a stable romantic partnership. However, the mathematician's work was not finished after they completed their task; instead, it was just beginning. Tune into CTRL Shift! The podcast episode "The game of life" is about Lloyd Shapely and David Gale and how their work inspired another researcher's life-saving discovery.

The two revolutionary mathematicians could have concluded their work on Game Theory and matching markets with their stable marriage algorithm. But an economist named Alvin Roth had a different plan in mind. He took that algorithm and shifted the perspective around its intention to open it up to new and revolutionary possibilities. In doing this, Alvin Roth helped to create the kidney transplant matching system and algorithm that would continue to save the lives of transplant patients for decades to come. 

In the mid-1970, Alvin Roth was studying matching markets at the University of Illinois when he came across the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), which helped match students with hospitals for their residency jobs–a traditional matching market. The program used an algorithm similar to the one invented by Gale and Shapely to match students with hospitals, but it was not as ideal as intended. Nevertheless, Roth found it exciting and continued with his work. In 1995, some two decades later, The head of the NRMP contacted Alvin Roth to update and redesign the NRMP algorithm as many students were not happy with their placements. 

Alvin Roth spent two years updating the algorithm and applying his engineering principles to mathematics and economics. He shifted the perspective and allowed for the application of nuances around human behavior and how that can be built into a system, something Gale and Shapely hadn’t considered. Roth’s work was revolutionary, and his ability to apply updated information to an existing idea paved the way for his more important work. 

Roth was very inspired by the first cross-donor transplant performed in the US. It was a kidney transplant, and the inspiration struck during a class where he taught about market matching. Roth used a kidney transplant, an idea off the top of his mind, as an example of a matching market issue purely for illustrative purposes. Yet this was, in fact, his lightbulb moment. While theoretical at first, Roth took his updated algorithm by Gale and Shapely over to an Organ Transplant facility and began restructuring it for use on cross-donor kidney transplants. The outcome was incredibly successful, and Alvin Roth was co-awarded a Nobel Prize with Lloyd Shapely for their work.

Lightbulb moments can be the start of exciting discovery. It can also just be the beginning of a string of exciting discoveries if we are willing to shift our perspective around an idea when necessary strategically. Just as Alvin Roth, Lloyd Shapley, and David Gale showed in their story, an algorithm went from finding love to saving lives.

What Can a Shift in Perspective Mean for Your Business?

A shifting mindset is a common practice among startup founders and business owners. How you approach an idea can shape your beliefs, actions, and relationships. Because mindset can dictate what your life looks like, a shift in perspective can be instrumental for a successful business. Mindset is essential for entrepreneurs and startup founders because you often work alone or with a small team, charting new paths and exploring inspiration. There are many important ways to shift perspective and strategies to help you discover unfolding success. 

Find the value. One of the most critical shifts in perspective you can choose to make regularly is to reframe your mindset away from profits and losses and instead focus on creating value for your customers. This helps to move away from the idea of lack and towards a mindset of abundance. 

Failure is inevitable. It is said that if you don’t succeed at first, try again. In addition, some researchers say that failure may be an “essential prerequisite for success,” which means that failing – and learning from those failures – can help set you up for eventual success and even help to shift your perspective in more productive ways.

Celebrate growth. Embracing a growth mindset can help to shift a perspective away from the minutiae of an initial idea or project and instead take a step back and see the macro overview from where the idea started to the possibilities of where it can go.

Allow room for change. Flexibility is necessary for all beginning and growing businesses as a founder and entrepreneur. Rarely has a business gone from initial plan to launch without changes; if you are set on a specific outcome, you might find it harder to pivot when necessary.

Lead with purpose. Many of the most inspiring stories of innovation and discovery are centered around a sense of values or the broader implications of purpose around an idea. When you lead your company with an authentic mission, it will come through in everything you do and allow you and your vision to connect to consumers better.

Embrace mindfulness. Your mind, thoughts, and ideas are your greatest assets as a business owner. Therefore, it is crucial for you and your project to maintain a healthy mindset to support growth, value, and expansion.

Conclusion - Follow the Spark and See Where it Glows

Do you feel inspired by something you read? Or a mentor who has been working on a particular project for decades? Did you recently attend a conference and feel the spark of an idea ignite inside you? That hunch – that instinctual pull of your attention to something inspiring – is precisely what a shift in perspective can do to lead you down potentially revolutionary pathways.

The goal is not to follow every spark of an idea as a new project but instead as a thread that strings together light bulb moments one after another, leading to the bright and burning excitement of discovery after discovery. It’s an ongoing balance of diligent persistence and shifting strategy. For example, Alvin Roth utilized the innovative algorithm of Shapely and Gale to spark a moment of inspiration regarding kidney transplant patients. You could be the next inspiring story with your ability to shift your perspective. 

Follow Humbleteam and discover even more inspiration on every episode of CTRL SHIFT! With new episodes released bi-weekly, listen on your favorite podcast platform.

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