The Law of Inversion is the practice of inverting a lesson and looking at it from a different perspective. Here's an example.
My friend Denny recently turned me on to Simon Sinek. Simon teaches people how great leaders inspire action. I am burnt beyond crisp on leadership and management. Too much study on topics that were paramount to my day job for too many years. But Denny is a wise cat and so I watched a Simon TED talk on the subject. Ouch! I nearly let a narrow focus rob me of an invaluable lesson. Instead of watching this talk from the perspective of a leader trying to hone his corporate skills, I watched it and pretended that I was a young adult with hair trying to stand out from his peers.
Try this yourself. Deep-six the stodgy-gray-suited-mindless-nincompoop and pretend you're a young adult who wants to give herself an edge, an opportunity to stand out from an endless sea of peers clamoring for the same limited amount of desirable jobs. I value your time so I'm going to give you a tip that will optimize your experience. When people understand Why you are about, doors will open. Watch this from the perspective of other people understanding your Why.
In an ironic twist I use this example of a book written to help people with networking, become a better manager. I also include an example of how a manager can gain invaluable lessons from Penelope Trunk's book Brazen Careerist, a book written to help young adults enhance their careers.
The key to using the Law of Inversion to your advantage is to approach the lesson with an open mind. Like I crawled out of the bug and slime infested swamp of my management experience, step outside of your teacher, fireman or welder role and grab hold of a fresh perspective.
Escape The Island
If you're in an industry where your consultants or blog writers begin a sentence and you finish it, you need to get off the island. You need a fresh perspective. I had the honor of being around a young woman who, years ago, did just that. Angela Maiers, a teacher bent on improving literacy and learning, joined our online community that consisted mostly of managers, marketers and writers. Angela escaped her educational industry island and foraged on ours. What makes Angela so special is that she returned to her island and tried new stuff. The more she infused new life into the island, the less of an island it became.
The example I'm about to give you might be the Mother-of-all-Inversion-possible. Quickly though, I'd like to let my friends at Fast Co. dispel any notions of Design Thinking being a fly-by-night business fad that escaped out the backdoor and into the night. It isn't. It's a mindset. It's a way of life. It isn't going anywhere.
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Standford University, commonly known as the d.school, put together a bootcamp bootleg to instruct and support the process of design thinking. Prior to learning about the law of inversion one might think this document is for designers. You know, those who went to design school, those who design stuff and or those employed in the design profession. Whereas my examples above of the Law of Inversion are somewhat limiting, this document vaporizes the boundaries of possibility!
It simply doesn't matter what subject you consider or profession you're in. Open your mind, lock-n-load questions and peruse this document. An endless sea of ideas will pound upon the beaches of your mind. I printed off one copy to use for building Standing Out in a Sea of Sameness and will print off more copies for future projects.
If I were younger I'd pack my Law of Inversion and knock every single day on the d.school door until they gave me a job to sweep their floors or anything to be around this life altering program :-)