The word Innovation is tossed around loosely today. In order to be a true innovator, to be a change agent or to be able to move our world in a new direction, we must be able to operate in a manner that frees us up to do so. Fortunately, ditching biases can help do exactly that.
Biases & Innovation
We all come loaded with biases. It’s a fundamental part of nature and society. We define ourselves and our world in a way that feels comfortable and familiar. Anything falling outside of our biases feels strange and somehow wrong. However, the impact of our biases aren’t limited to personal life — they can also impact our innovation efforts.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to hear Chamath Palihapitiya (@Chamath), founder and CEO of Social Capital, speak. He mentioned the importance of unpacking biases and it really struck a chord with me. There are some obvious — and maybe not so obvious — reasons that make understanding our biases so important.
Below are five reasons that are critical to the success of any innovation project:
- Recognition: When we remove the blinders we create with our biases, we can recognize a problem that needs attention. Sure, we can keep moving under the influence of our biases, which trick us into believing things are just fine, but it is difficult to keep moving forward this way.
- Acceptance: Consideration and acceptance of alternative ideas and processes influence the solutions we develop. When we remove our biases, we can accept that there are other ways of doing things and we begin to see the bigger picture. This is when the magic starts and new ideas can begin to form.
- Courage: Daring to do something different is tough. It takes courage to make yourself uncomfortable and to ask others to feel uncomfortable. However, when we let go of our biases (or at the very least, acknowledge them), we can freely jump in and explore. Take a leap of faith, ignore those preconceived notions and forge ahead.
- Non-attachment: When we can look beyond our own views and are accepting of other possibilities, we are free to let go of success and failure. Strive to release your ideas onto the world, surround yourself with others who can do the same, and see what happens when you can build without being attached to an outcome.
- Perspective: When we can recognize our biased views, we can gain a new perspective. Call it flipping the script if you’d like (I compare it to inversions in my Yoga practice.) How does the world look from this new point of view? What new problems do you recognize? What notions might you accept? How courageous can you be and for how long? If you fall over, will you still be content with the effort?
What are your prerequisites for innovation? Have you unpacked your biases? If so, how? I’d love to hear your tips, tricks, and ideas to fuel innovation. Please DM @SEMSage or email email@example.com.