Takeaways from the Book ALIEN Thinking

Takeaways from the Book “ALIEN Thinking”

ALIEN Thinking was written by Cyril Bouquet, Jean-Louis Barsoux and Michael Wade. These folks are professors at IMD Business School based in Switzerland and Singapore.

Their research revealed that innovators and inventors exhibit five patterns of thinking. These patterns of thinking are not a linear process, but all are explored before an idea reaches full fruition. These pattern names are used to make the acronym “ALIEN”.


The act of focusing on a particular problem that needs to be solved and having a deep understanding of the current situation.


The act of stepping back to make room in your mind for reflection and inspiration.


The act of generating new and unusual ideas.


The act of testing and refining an idea to turn it into a workable solution.


The act of planning and steering through obstacles to get the idea implemented.

The authors discuss combining human and digital assets to enhance ALIEN thinking. They discuss barriers to innovation including fear and comfort with the status quo.

The authors cite real-world examples of ideas that have been implemented from training rats to detect land mines to a solar powered airplane. One of my favorites was new prosthetic legs inspired by nature, the cheetah.

Takeaways for the Business Owner

Desire Creative and Innovative Solutions

Nothing will happen if there is no desire and actions to pursue creative and innovative ideas. Perhaps your organization needs fresh ideas in the areas of new products, services or processes. Be courageous, challenge the status quo and take action.


Not all ideas need to have world-wide impact to have a positive impact on your business. Innovation is not just for big business. Consider new products and services for niche markets. Perhaps new processes for your organization. Consider a fresh and unique approach to marketing.

Innovation is Hard Work

Innovation definitely requires time and effort. There can be many ideas to sort through and setbacks along the way. However, successful innovation can have a very positive impact to your business and community.

Check out my takeaways from the book Creativity, Inc.

Give both books a read!

Let me know how I can be helpful to you.