Some of the most serious challenges we need to deal with in our career
or business arise because some fundamental aspect of our world changes.
Something shifted while we were busy with other things. We know that
to truly solve these problems will require “letting go” of old ways of
seeing, interpreting, and acting that we have come to rely on because
they served us so well in the past. Good habits of the past are often
the big barriers to new thinking. To break these barriers, you need to leverage the power of both B-School and D-School styles of thinking (new Idea Couture's T-shirt pictured above).
These “habits of mind and heart” are often implicit and unconscious, so we are not even aware of what it is doing until the security and predictability they once provided is threatened. That moment of "oh shit" realizing we could be wrong. When a new and innovative idea is presented, people will bring up dozens of reasons why this won't work. Only after hours of discussions before people realize the truly power of one idea. This is familiar to all of us. People say they want new ideas, but not prepared to get rid of those old habits in order to really see the idea.
In large organizational settings, the more we try to cling to the old patterns, the more likely end up blaming others (especially those in authority, senior executives positions) for the pain. Deep change is possible only if we are able to look at ourselves in the clearest possible mirror and at the same time trying to fully enlarge our awareness of the illusions about our organizations and the world that have brought us to this point of crisis. Only then new patterns of perceiving, relating, connecting, and discovering begin to emerge.If you start seeing these patterns, this is a sign of breaking out of your box.
One thing is certain: the approaches, patterns and quality of our thinking during the crisis will inevitably determine where we'll land when it's over. Are you prepared yourself for that? What are the key barriers to perceiving, relating, connecting and discovering? Here are the top three reasons:
Bounded Rationality. We are all rational beings to different extent and in that we will try to logically understand things and make our own choices. The problem is things are so complex, that we don’t have the capacity to understand everything. We also have a limited time and data to make informed decisions. As a result, our decisions are not fully thought through and we can only be rational within limits such as time and cognitive capability. Herbert Simon points out that most people are only partly rational, and are in fact emotional/irrational in the remaining part of their actions. In another work, he states "boundedly rational agents experience limits in formulating and solving complex problems and in processing (receiving, storing, retrieving, transmitting) information" Design Thinking is a good way to get unbounded. We have a great toolkit to help clients to do that.
Representative Heuristics. Human tend to judge the probability of an event by finding a ‘comparable known’ event and assuming that the probabilities will be similar. As a part of creating meaning from what we experience, we need to classify things. If something does not fit exactly into a known category, we will approximate with the nearest class available. It is easy for us to wrongly approximate with a wrong experience and become very bias. In simpler terms, we have buckets of things and if any idea does not belong to any of these buckets we will ignore them. So always keep a spare and unlabeled bucket.
When we are make judgments, we tend to weigh attributes and factors
unevenly, putting more weight on some aspects and less on others. This
is typically due to factors such as stereotyping and schemas that we
use that bring certain factors to mind and downplay others. The most
common example is we ignore data points that disapprove our theory and
over weighting data that supports our theory. A good habit is keep notes of any data that contradicts your thinking separately and find time to look them and trying to understand what it really means or why it could be wrong. But don't ignore them.
Are you aware of these habits that are affecting your judgement on your innovation initiatives The truth is there is really no one best recipe to organize for innovation. Each industry and organization has different objectives and roles for innovation, and different systems and business models in which innovation has to accomplish its role. But doesn't matter which approach you take, you still need to learn to overcome the these barriers.