Teaching Old Fish New Tricks

Teaching Fish New Tricks

We used to assume that the world was flat.

We used to assume that the sun orbited around the earth.

We used to assume that it was impossible to go faster than the speed of sound.

These assumptions were all challenged and proved to be wrong, fundamentally extending the boundaries of potential innovation and exploration in the decades that followed.

Challenging orthodoxies or questioning your assumptions is one of the key techniques to use with your innovation teams to uncover new insights to form the seeds of future innovation.

This isn’t always easy to do, and in workshops it can be a challenge to put people in the right frame of mind for questioning assumptions and challenging orthodoxies.

I find that having a stable of short videos can help in setting the stage for the very important innovation work.

Now, let’s have a look at one of my new favorite assumption-challenging videos…

Who says you can’t teach old fish new tricks?

Yes, I said fish, not dog – which challenges an orthodoxy in and of itself.

I was intrigued to hear recently that scientists in Israel have managed to teach goldfish how to drive a car.

Don’t believe me?

Check out the video:

Gradually, we are finding out that humans aren’t as special as we like to believe.

We’ve learned that trees can communicate via root systems, research is progressing into plant sentience and yes apparently, goldfish can be taught to drive.

Now that you’ve seen this video, you can now see that the assumption that fish can’t navigate vehicles through physical space – is incorrect.

What other assumptions do we make about goldfish and other living creatures that might be incorrect.

How might we set up experiments to test these assumptions?

What are some of your favorite short videos to put people in the right mindset to challenge orthodoxies and question assumptions?

Add them to the comments!

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One thought on “Teaching Old Fish New Tricks

  1. Gregg Maslak

    Great article! We need to challenge our assumptions and biases. Our decisions are based on underlying assumptions and information which will change over time. So a ‘good’ decision today must be re-evaluated periodically.

    They used to use xray machines for shoe-fittings.


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