Tag Archives: assumptions

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2023

Top 10 Human-Centered Change & Innovation Articles of November 2023Drum roll please…

At the beginning of each month, we will profile the ten articles from the previous month that generated the most traffic to Human-Centered Change & Innovation. Did your favorite make the cut?

But enough delay, here are November’s ten most popular innovation posts:

  1. A Quantum Computing Primer — by Greg Satell
  2. Disagreements Can Be a Good Thing — by Mike Shipulski
  3. What’s Your Mindset — by Dennis Stauffer
  4. We Are Killing Innovation in America — by Greg Satell
  5. Two Kinds of Possible — by Dennis Stauffer
  6. Eddie Van Halen, Simultaneous Innovation and the AI Regulation Conundrum — by Pete Foley
  7. Five Secrets to Being a Great Team Player — by David Burkus
  8. Be Clear on What You Want — by Mike Shipulski
  9. Overcoming Your Assumptions — by Dennis Stauffer
  10. Four Things All Leaders Must Know About Digital Transformation — by Greg Satell

BONUS – Here are five more strong articles published in October that continue to resonate with people:

If you’re not familiar with Human-Centered Change & Innovation, we publish 4-7 new articles every week built around innovation and transformation insights from our roster of contributing authors and ad hoc submissions from community members. Get the articles right in your Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin feeds too!

Have something to contribute?

Human-Centered Change & Innovation is open to contributions from any and all innovation and transformation professionals out there (practitioners, professors, researchers, consultants, authors, etc.) who have valuable human-centered change and innovation insights to share with everyone for the greater good. If you’d like to contribute, please contact me.

P.S. Here are our Top 40 Innovation Bloggers lists from the last three years:

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Overcoming Your Assumptions

Overcoming Your Assumptions

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

One of the ways innovators—and everyone else—so often get tripped up is by our own hidden assumptions. Beliefs we aren’t consciously aware of. These assumptions can make our challenges much harder than they need to be.

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “Thinking outside the box.” That most overused creativity cliché. You probably don’t know where that metaphor came from, but I suspect you’ve seen it, and it illustrates this difficulty.

It’s called the nine-dot problem. Remember this? You’re supposed to connect all nine dots with four straight lines that are all connected and continuous. One long line with four segments. See if you can figure out (or recall) the solution.

What makes the nine-dot problem hard to solve—when you haven’t seen it before—is an assumption you probably made without realizing it. You assumed that those lines must fall within the space defined by those dots, that they’re inside the box. Once you realize you can go outside the box, it becomes much easier. You can see the solution HERE.

This puzzle goes back at least to the 1970s. Since then, many variations have been suggested. Here’s one that prompts a different hidden assumption.

Think of it as perhaps a new assignment for your team:

Folks, we hit it out of the park on that nine-dot program. That solution gave us a very profitable competitive advantage. But it’s been a while. Our competitors are catching up. We need an update. Our new challenge is similar. There are still nine dots, but they’re a little bigger, a little closer together, and our budget is smaller. We can only afford three lines instead of four. Otherwise, our challenge is the same—connect all the dots. So how do we do that with just three straight lines that are connected and continuous?

Can you figure this one out? If you don’t immediately see the solution, it’s probably because you’re making another assumption that you don’t realize you’re making. You’re assuming that you must go through the centers of the dots. But that’s not required. The lines can tilt. Without that limitation—that hidden assumption—the solution is much more straightforward. That solution is HERE.

I’m not telling you to stop making assumptions. That’s a fool’s errand. We all make assumptions, every moment of our lives, or we couldn’t function. You can’t check out everything. What I recommend instead is that you recognize that you’re always making assumptions and get better at identifying them. That way you can decide whether they’re appropriate. In other words, you need to be willing to challenge your own thinking—your own mindset.

Innovators are willing to question even what may seem obvious, because that’s how you gain new insights and make discoveries. And because learning how to understand this world in some new way is the first step toward making it better.

View this post as a video on YouTube here:

Image Credit: Unsplash

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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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