Last Salvos from Hot Springs: Barry Nalebuff

By August 7, 2005General

We know what you’re thinking: Is there anything more to wring out of one meeting? Well, the answer is yes, actually. It was a very interesting group with some good panels and good speakers, the latter provided by Leading Authorities.

On Saturday, we heard from blog reader and Yale Professor Barry Nalebuff, author of the book “Why Not?: How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small“. He talked about creativity and problem-solving, ended with these observations/rules when facing a seemingly insoluble problem:

— Ask, “How would Donald Trump (i.e., someone with unlimited resources) solve it?”

— Look for cases of misguided incentives and correct them.

— Look at doing things the other way around.

— Develop a cooperation strategy.

— Develop a strategy for “complementors” (the opposite of “competitors), not just for competitors.

— Look for solutions from other contexts and countries.

— Keep it similar, i.e., solve the problem in a way that is familiar to others, and thus more readily accepted.

It’s all explained in his book, which we’d recommend. His slides will be on the Council website early this week. And, check out his website,, billed as an “open source movement”. Some very cool stuff on there, some forums where people can postideas in different sectors and contexts. At present, there are some 248 categories and 1903 ideas on there. Something tells us that more of these would be implemented if it weren’t for the constant threat of litgation, which saps innovation in this country.

In any event, an interesting guy, interesting session.