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Peter Sims

Best-Selling Author, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

A best-selling author and entrepreneur, Peter Sims shatters conventional thinking on innovation and creativity by proving that it is small, methodical steps—rather than conventional planning, analytical thinking and linear problem solving—that lead to game changing outcomes.

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Little Bets

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 extensive research, including 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.

Authentic Leadership

Based on the lessons learned from 125 of the world’s most-respected entrepreneurs and leaders profiled for TRUE NORTH: Discover Your Authentic Leadership, including Charles Schwab, Starbuck’s founder Howard Schultz, CEO of Palm Inc. Donna Dubinsky, Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric, Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy, Andrea Jung CEO of Avon Products, and Narayana Murthy of Infosys. Themes include: overcoming life crucibles and setbacks, clarifying personal values and motivations, developing effective support structures, using your life story to motivate and inspire others, approaches for staying grounded, and personal leadership development plans.

Meet Peter Sims

A best-selling author and entrepreneur, Peter Sims shatters conventional thinking on innovation and creativity by proving that it is small, methodical steps—rather than conventional planning, analytical thinking and linear problem solving—that lead to game changing outcomes.

Peter Sims’ latest book is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries, which grew out of a long collaboration with faculty at Stanford’s Institute of Design (the d.school), a hub of creative thinking and doing, and his previous work in venture capital with Summit Partners, where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs, including as part of the team that established Summit’s European Office in London. He was also the coauthor with Bill George of the best-seller True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership and is a Co-founder and Director of Fuse Corps, a social venture that will enable America’s most entrepreneurial young leaders to work on year-long grassroots projects to tackle some of society’s most pressing problems, such as within education, reporting directly to mayors, governors, their senior staffs.

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