The Necessity of Strangers: The Intriguing Truth About Insight, Innovation, and Success

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9781118461303: The Necessity of Strangers: The Intriguing Truth About Insight, Innovation, and Success

A counterintuitive approach to fostering greater innovation, collaboration, and engagement

Most of us assume our success relies on a network of friends and close contacts. But innovative thinking requires a steady stream of fresh ideas and new possibilities, which strangers are more likely to introduce. Our survival instincts naturally cause us to look upon strangers with suspicion and distrust, but in The Necessity of Strangers, Alan Gregerman offers the provocative idea that engaging with strangers is an opportunity, not a threat, and that engaging with the right strangers is essential to unlocking our real potential. The Necessity of Strangers reveals how strangers challenge us to think differently about ourselves and the problems we face.

  • Shows how strangers can help us innovate better, get the most out of each other, and achieve genuine collaboration
  • Presents principles for developing a "stranger-centric" mindset to develop new markets and stronger customer relationships, leverage the full potential of partnerships, and become more effective leaders
  • Includes practical guidance and a toolkit for being more open, creating new ideas that matter, finding the right strangers in all walks of life, and tapping the real brilliance in yourself

To stay competitive, you and your business need access to more new ideas, insights, and perspectives than ever before. The Necessity of Strangers offers an essential guide to discovering the most exciting opportunities you haven't met yet.

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Review:


Q&A with Alan Gregerman, author of The Necessity of Strangers


Who stands to benefit from reading The Necessity of Strangers?

I would like to think that anyone in business would benefit from the book because it is all about the power of connecting with and learning from people who are different than we are as a key to our success as individuals and organizations. Most of us have an aversion to strangers, but we really shouldn't because they help us to stretch our thinking, grow, and even do more remarkable things in all aspects of work and life. And the right strangers can make us more complete and filled with possibilities.

Isn't it better to rely on friends and our existing networks?

Your friends and existing networks are tremendous assets in your growth and success, but they're simply not enough. Sometimes they are too much like you to help in solving pressing problems or creating new opportunities, and sometimes they are just too likely to confirm the things you already think or believe. And besides, relying only on friends and colleagues limits your access to a world of cool and powerful ideas--even if you are among the best connected people on the planet. Imagine that you could connect with anyone in the world, wouldn't that be awesome? Well today you can, and you can combine what others know with the best of what your friends, coworkers, neighbors, and other contacts know to realize your full potential. And all it takes is a sense of curiosity and openness.

What business challenges can engaging with strangers help us to solve?

I believe that strangers are critical to our success when it comes to almost every challenge we face. In the book, I focus on four specific areas in which strangers, and our openness to strangers, can produce fantastic results. These areas are:

Innovation: Connecting with and learning from people who are very different than we are is a real key to developing better products, services, customer experiences, and business practices. Imagine being able to combine your best insight with that of others from all walks of life.

People: Being more open to the types of strangers we hire and more skillful in unlocking their talents and building their commitment to our success. We typically hire people just like us, and even though we are wonderful, we need a broader and more diverse set of experiences and ways of thinking and acting if we are going to create breakthroughs and deliver greater value in our business, civic, and even social lives.

Collaboration: In most large organizations, and even some that aren't so large, we often struggle to really work together across business units and "silos." And while we say that collaboration and knowledge sharing are important, we spend more time hiding in our departments, convinced that collaboration is too difficult or not that necessary to our success. But what if we could connect in a more meaningful way with everyone in our companies or with partner organizations? Then we could establish a basis for bringing new perspectives to the challenges we face.

Customers and Markets: It turns out that an increasing number of customers and prospects in most businesses and organizations are strangers, and our ability to grow our enterprises is tied to our ability to connect with them in new ways to understand their needs and dreams so we can deliver way greater value. But doing this will require us to place greater value on building relationships with strangers.

How will The Necessity of Strangers help us in a traditional office?

Even in a "traditional" office, innovation, collaboration, engaging employees, and delivering greater value to those we serve are essential to success. But most importantly, our real challenge is bringing out the genius in ourselves and all of our colleagues. The Necessity of Strangers will teach you how to look at yourself, the people you work with, and the world around you with a powerful new mindset and an openness to doing new and powerful things together.

From the Back Cover:

"Is it possible that we are blind to one of the most exciting sources of innovation in our midst? The strangers among us—the UPS driver, the co-worker from a different department, neighbors who are older, younger, or otherwise different from us—could be invaluable allies in our quest for true creativity, if only we knew how to reach out to them. The Necessity of Strangers is a guide to breaking out of the hive mind and forging the connections that can make us better thinkers and better people."
Dan Pink, author, To Sell Is Human and Drive

"Alan Gregerman has done it once again—making a compelling case for the relatively simple, yet powerful, concept of opening ourselves up to the knowledge and insights of others. The Necessity of Strangers is a provocative, relevant, and practical guide to meeting the challenges facing business leaders today."
George Schindler, president, United States and Canada, CGI

"Are you ready to learn about the power of strangers? From the products we buy at the grocery store to the innovations we adopt at the office, strangers shape our behavior in some amazing ways. Get ready for Alan Gregerman to show you how."
Jonah Berger, professor of marketing, the Wharton School; author, Contagious

"The Necessity of Strangers will change the way you think about innovation and collaboration. Alan Gregerman's powerful stories, clear examples, and practical guidance show us that strangers are more essential to our growth and success than we ever realized, challenging us—and our businesses—to reimagine how we engage and inspire our employees, customers, and partners."
Chip Conley, founder, Joie de Vivre Hospitality; author, Peak and Emotional Equations

"The Necessity of Strangers captures the remarkable value and wisdom of learning from people we too often discount or simply pass by. Their different perspectives may serve as the real catalyst for helping us innovate, create better products and services, increase profits, re-energize people, improve our communities, and reach our full potential."
Beverly Robertson, president, National Civil Rights Museum

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Book Description John Wiley Sons Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A counterintuitive approach to fostering greater innovation, collaboration, and engagement Most of us assume our success relies on a network of friends and close contacts. But innovative thinking requires a steady stream of fresh ideas and new possibilities, which strangers are more likely to introduce. Our survival instincts naturally cause us to look upon strangers with suspicion and distrust, but in The Necessity of Strangers, Alan Gregerman offers the provocative idea that engaging with strangers is an opportunity, not a threat, and that engaging with the right strangers is essential to unlocking our real potential. The Necessity of Strangers reveals how strangers challenge us to think differently about ourselves and the problems we face. * Shows how strangers can help us innovate better, get the most out of each other, and achieve genuine collaboration * Presents principles for developing a stranger-centric mindset to develop new markets and stronger customer relationships, leverage the full potential of partnerships, and become more effective leaders * Includes practical guidance and a toolkit for being more open, creating new ideas that matter, finding the right strangers in all walks of life, and tapping the real brilliance in yourself To stay competitive, you and your business need access to more new ideas, insights, and perspectives than ever before. The Necessity of Strangers offers an essential guide to discovering the most exciting opportunities you haven t met yet. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9781118461303

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