Mastering Sun Tzu's competitive perspective sparks your personal creativity, especially in terms of finding inventive solutions to problems. People think that competitive strategy is insensitive to the needs of others. The opposite is true. The science of Sun Tzu is not Machiavellian but completely based on sensitivity to the needs of others.
All effective innovation is based on empathy. A warrior must imagine the hopes, dreams, desires, and fears of others, but according to Sun Tzu, sympathy starts with selfishness coupled with the imagination of seeing the world through other's eye. Criminals lack the imagination of empathy. They see what others have and simply want to take it. This leads to conflict and the unavoidable costs of conflict. Competitive sympathy requires much more effort. Multiply the unknowns of a single human heart times the population of the entire world and you discover the limits of strategic creativity.
Leveraging What You Know
Competitive ingenuity doesn't come from daydreams. According to the Sun Tzu's Play Book, only creativity based on knowledge can be transformed into insight. We must first know how things work and how work is done in a given area and why it is done that way. A great small, simple innovation to a strong working system can conquer the world, and has many times. These relatively small changes are what take an existing standard method and push it over the tipping point into something great.
Becoming a Puzzle Master
Using Sun Tzu's system of innovation, you simply rearrange parts of the system and see what happens. Though Sun Tzu's approach is simple and has been around for 2,500 years, it is surprising how seldom people try it. We could all be experimenting every day to create our own innovations, but people are afraid of making mistakes. Part of this is training. The real creativity of trial and error changing working systems is neither taught nor encouraged. The result is that people never learn how to experiment except when they play video games. This is why video games are so popular and school is not.
The Key to Unlocking New Worlds
Individuals, making little improvements in areas that they know, have opened up all the huge new territory that exists today. Every industry, every field of science, and even new governments are created out of nothing but the human imagination. However, none of our actions alone creates that opportunity. Opportunities are created by all our efforts coming together. The value of innovation is immense, but the real value of innovation is in the beauty of how it all comes together.