The Innovator's Hypothosis. Although I gave it two stars on Amazon for poor execution (and don't recommend that you read it), it did get me thinking.
The author's argument is that most companies are terrible at knowing (and guessing) what customers want. Just asking rarely works either - clients often don't know or can't articulate it until they see it. Research and statistics bear all of this out. His proposed solution is implementing a series of small, information gathering experiments done within well defined boundaries. In theory this should help refine ideas and improve decision making in short time-frames with limited investment.
Reading the book was a frustrating experience for several reasons, but it wasn't until thinking about it afterward that I figured out the real reason it didn't work. The author was so focused on the hype and logistics about experiments that he failed to focus on the core truth on which the book is based: little things we can do right now are far more powerful and valuable than bigger, "better" things we can't do yet (or at all).
I know that is hardly rocket science, and in some ways its just common sense. But I also think there's a lot of value in reminding ourselves of it - and looking for ways to apply it - more often than we do. So for this week, I've written myself a sticky note and plastered it on my planner reminding myself to look at things with fresh eyes. Every time I am reminded of a long term goal or frustration, I'm going to stop and ask myself what I can do right now with what I already have to contribute to the desired result that goal/frustration represents. Will it get me anywhere? Who knows. But the idea won't stop kicking around my head, so I'm guessing my subconscious knows something it hasn't bothered to tell me yet!
Is there an area in your life that could be improved by some small, can-do-it-right-now actions this week?