The film ‘Shall We Dance’ by Masayuki Suo provides a powerful lesson on the importance of breaking routines in both personal and professional life. The film’s main character, Sugiyama, is an accountant with a monotonous and uneventful life. He follows the same routine every day, using the same train, bike, and time to get to work. However, he finds a glimmer of hope in a mysterious and beautiful young woman he sees at a dance school window. Despite his fear, Sugiyama finally decides to enroll in dance classes to have a chance to meet her. To his surprise, he discovers a new passion for dance that helps him rediscover himself, his family, and his friends.
The business world also has its share of routines, such as producing the same products, writing the same reports, and making the same offers. While these tasks help run an ordinary business, they can also become a barrier to change. The secure flow created by routines does not allow space for new ideas, experimentation, and discoveries. Opportunities for growth and innovation often lie beyond the routines. For example, the discovery of a new island requires moving away from the mainland, and the invention of new technology requires trying something that we have not experienced before. In other words, breaking out of our comfort zones is necessary to try new things and innovate.
Accidental discoveries are a common phenomenon in the business world, often leading to game-changing products or services. For instance, Pfizer’s researchers accidentally discovered Viagra while trying to find a cure for heart illness. The founder of Starbucks, Howard Shultz, invented the Starbucks ‘Café Model’ after he encountered the original Italian Café concept during his first visit to Italy. Therefore, breaking routines and being open to accidental discoveries is essential to fostering innovation and positive change in business and life. Only by changing our path can we bring about the necessary change.