What are people like? I have a feeling that we all, on some level, already know the answer to that question. Despite this, we continue to believe that humans can alter their nature. We believe that because we appear to be intelligent and capable of change — we have these large brains that allow us…
If you want to be innovative, you have to learn to overcome your fears. Did you know that most people consider the fear of public speaking even more severe than the fear of death? Indeed, some people would instead do almost anything else than stand in front of a group and talk. Some businesses are…
Are You Looking Far Enough Into The Future? Since our earliest days as primitive savannah wanderers, we humans have had a natural tendency to prioritize immediate gratification above achieving more far-reaching goals. Along with the capacity for thought and reason, human beings are the only animals that are capable of planning and thinking ahead to…
What’s better in innovation, thought experiments or real experiments?
Many people, from philosophers to scientists, use thought experiments to determine the outcome of a hypothesis. In many of our innovation, targeted IP generation and futurist sessions, we generate ideas which can be considered hypothesis (although our futurist program typically uses thought experiments to generate a possible future state, then generates products and services to address that future state, then backcast to generate hypothetical capabilities we need to address that future state.
Fill It Full Of Doits, And You’ll Never Be Short Of Ideas
A while back, I wrote a blog post about the two kinds of people in the world, the ShouldWes and the DoIts. You can go back here to read the full post, but in short, the DoIts are the action takers, the ones who see or generate an idea they want to move forward on that idea, no matter if the idea is incremental or disruptive, they want to take the risk and develop the idea, get in in front of customers and see if the idea lives or dies.
A common refrain that I hear from individuals at some of the companies that we’ve worked with in the past (and some prospects who ultimately decide not to work with us) is that we are experts at generating ideas, but most of those ideas simply do not have a business model – which is, of course, a fancy way of saying “we can’t figure out how to make any money with this idea”.
Prior to the widespread adoption of the web and the internet, I used to run something called a Bulletin Board System (BBS), where we would use phone lines to communicate on message boards. Every so often, our message boards would call each other and exchange messages, thus allowing us to communicate (this was in a time when long distance calls actually cost money, so the updates sometimes only happened once a day).
With all of the new technologies and ways of doing things seemingly better and faster, do you ever wonder why we sometimes cling to the old ways of doing things? Why even if much better options are available, we still do things a certain way? Why do we hesitate to innovate?
Anonymity Helps Innovation
As I mentioned in a previous post, our culture and technology are making it much easier to survive and thrive in the world as an introvert, and in so doing, more and more of us are becoming introverts. With the ability to work from home, and have everything delivered 24/7, there are many people who are taking that route. Some of your best people prefer to interface with others through the internet and in non-face-to-face interactions.
Do you, like most, have a bias for short-term results?
I love Scott Adams and Dilbert – he perfectly encapsulates some of the incredible silliness of corporate work and life – and like all great humor, contains enough truth to sting. The other day, I was especially struck by the last panel in a running joke about Wally being selected to be mentored by the CEO. As it happens, Wally, being Wally, has been mentored for a week and has not improved at all. The CEO, worried that this will look bad (he can’t win, he either appears to hire crappy people or can’t mentor anyone successfully) is in discussion with the HR Director (Catbert) about this, deciding that to save face, he will need to promote Wally. To which Catbert says “That might be a bad idea in the long run”. In the final panel, the CEO says: