Pause for thought: cognitive barriers to innovation

by Marlena Zakrzewska on April 17, 2014

“Do not be in a hurry to succeed. What would you have to live for afterwards?

Better make the horizon your goal; it will always be ahead of you”

William Makepeace Thackeray

Looking over the horizon. (Image from swissre.com ad.)

Being able to look at your idea from a different perspective is a key to a success. Easier said than done though!

Let me share with you a  few of my thoughts regarding a  long-term perspective thinking. Hopefully I can inspire you to create a prosperous vision.

Horizon is the limit of a person’s knowledge, experience, or interest. It draws a rather clear conclusion  that there are no barriers  to establish your vision; there are no limits to another person’s interest. Therefore, the best way to gain a wider perspective is to focus on collecting new experiences, by being open-minded and curious.

Innovation is a perfect example of how unlimited our creativity and looking beyond the obvious could be. Having said that, it is not just about trying out new things, since as fun as it is, often it does not lead to anything significant. If you are experimenting with the new  ideas only within your own interest and your own perspective – your findings may not convey a right  message to others, consequently you may feel misunderstood. A key action here should be an assessment prior to the analysis and taking on any further research.

It is more about:

a) Having a vision

b) Careful observation of the environment

c) Analysis of your findings

d) Comparing your perspective to others

In this way you can easily identify any cognitive barriers to innovation through in-depth analysis of potential perspective of your project. As logical as it  sounds, we still have so much to learn about observing others .

Careful analysis of our behavioural patterns is an answer to a success . In order to support this view, there is  rather a straightforward model commonly used  in behavioural science, so-called ABC model.

A – Antecedent

B – Behaviour

C – Consequence

Behaviour itself is the least important factor as it could have a  very differential response to the antecedent.  The first and the third columns of this model are crucial. With a good understanding of  what consequences occur after  specific antecedents, we can easily identify the right strategy. An accurate analysis of ABC data is based on open-mindedness and wide perspective and it leads to a successful approach to… innovation,  problem solving and better understanding of each other.

About Marlena Zakrzewska :

Marlena is a consultant with Bearing, with a strong background in analysis, cognitive and behavioural studies and innovation.

Marlena was educated at King’s College London and Humboldt University Berlin, and has been involved in extensive studies regarding social psychology and consumer behaviour.

She believes that by understanding what affects behaviour and, by extension, how to influence behaviour, both organisations and individuals can become more successful. Understanding exactly how small changes to the details of an offer can influence the way people react to it is crucial to unlock significant value.

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