Outsmart Your Instincts: How the Behavioral Innovation™ Approach Drives Your Company Forward

You really have to respect a book that covers topics as modern as tomorrow with a Foreword that starts out. “I was born in Minnesota in 1928 …”. My curiosity was revved and I had to read this book. Besides, when there are three authors creating content for ten chapters in one book, most of them with the word ‘bias’ in the title, what would you do? Read it, of course. My favorite chapter is titled, Confabulation – Of Course That’s Why I Did That! I guess it could be the word itself, confabulation, but more likely it’s the hint that there is an explanation for how stories from our history grow imaginary facts when processed through our memories. Are you curious yet?

Since there are only 10 chapters with pretty cool titles, you, as the reader, could dive into the chapters that interest you most, or you could start at page one and systematically read through the entire book. You could – but I bet you won’t. I didn’t because some of the chapters were just too interesting to wait to read. Here are some of my favorite places in this book, Outsmart Your Instincts. I think one from each chapter will blanket the book quite well. You know, so you have a good idea of where you might want to start reading.

Negativity Bias – Bad Is Stronger Than Good

We live in a negative world, even though, that’s hard to accept if you tend to look at things as though life can be made positive. The thing is, the negative situations and experiences have stronger effects than those that are positive. This exercise used among teams attempts to compare how a simple word change can turn a negative to a positive. In discussion about observations, switch out ‘but’ for ‘and”. Try it here. “Yes…and it was easy to come up with ideas.” “Yes…but we didn’t get very far.” “Yes…and it was incredibly productive.” “Yes…but it was supposed to feel like fun not work.” Which would you rather experience? Yes…and, or yes…but?

Availability Bias – What You See Is All There Is

This was my favorite takeaway from this chapter because I am always amazed when someone can innovate their way to creating something new out of literally nothing. The authors must have gotten inside my mind for this one. They say Availability Bias is pernicious. “It dramatically limits what we believe is possible.” When we try to solve problems we will have severely inadequate ideas and solutions if we believe we can only use the resources we have available right now. I had never heard of the Johari Window before, but you will learn how to use it to identify ‘knowledge buckets and gaps’ on your way to new opportunities.

The Curse of Knowledge – Well, It’s Just Obvious That…

This chapter had my name on it. I still remember one of my managers correcting me every single time I used the word ‘obviously’. She reminded me that what is obvious to some, is not at all obvious to some. For one thing, she said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Like this chapter makes ‘obvious’, knowledge is good, but there are times when it holds you back from Opportunity Identification because no matter how much we know, we only know part of it. There are excellent techniques readers will learn and absorb as they develop new knowledge – over and over and over.

Status Quo Bias – The Bird In The Hand

I’m one of the odd ball people who like change. For that reason alone, I am not fond of the status quo. Where is the innovation in that? You won’t find it. In the beginning of the chapter, the authors unearth those words, “It won’t happen to us,” when in fact minding the status quo was devastating to newspapers, record labels (think pirated music), big box bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Garmin, TomTom, and others. Doing nothing gets you nowhere and the comfort of status quo is not comfortable at all. As the authors say, status quo could still be one option, but it’s not the only option or the safest option.

Confabulation – Of Course That’s Why I Did That!

If you look up the word confabulation in the dictionary you are going to find it described as a memory disorder or disturbance of memory. The story that kicks off this chapter is one about a man who experienced a form of amnesia, but that isn’t the foundation for this chapter. Instead, it digs deeply into insight and getting past superficialities and confabulations that restrict learning and shut down innovation. If you know about how different sides of the brain work, left side vs right side, this chapter will be fascinating to you.

Conformity Bias – Play Along To Get Along

Here’s something I had not thought of before. “Conformity is the hallmark of the status quo. Innovation is a break with conformity to establish a ‘new’ status quo that better serves the needs of the group in ways that are obvious only in hindsight.” There’s a difference between conformity and unity. Group think is powerful, but sharing multiple viewpoints and not rushing to consensus is where you want the power to be. More ideas before deciding and risking disagreement will lead to more opportunities, better ideas, stronger development, and higher innovation.

Confirmation Bias – Just As I Thought!

Here’s a thought to ponder. “Just because you build it, and you think it’s great, does not mean your customers will agree. We have preconceived ideas and sometimes, even though we are presented with opposing information, we hold firm to those ideas – and that gets in our way of creative and innovative thought.” Not that we want to be proved wrong, but we need to be infused with new experiences, new information, new solutions, new customers, vendors, and relationships. When we are introduced to new things we expand our perceptions, our impressions, our beliefs, and strengthen our ability to dream, create, and generate ideas. Train yourself to think, “What else? How is this different? Where else could this be used? What if?” Instead of assuming, start learning.

Framing – Like a Fish In Water

I really liked the way the authors explained framing, which is how we see the world. We can’t help it since, as humans, we are destined to think of things contextually. What we think, the choices we make, what we do are all taking place inside that mental frame. I have a tendency to over think things so I really appreciated what I learned about filters and perception and how they affect the way I react and respond. There are many truths told about using framing to become better innovators of new and productive ideas. From writing a challenge statement to creating word pictures and actions to lead to new and better ideas, this chapter is a gold mine for the innovative process.

To sum up next steps and using this book as a tool for using the Behavioral Innovation™ approach to drive your company forward, here is a solid instruction straight out of the book. “Combat the tenacity of Cognitive Biases. Stay humble, keep curious, and never lose the sense of play.”

Outsmart Your Instincts. That’s how you move from what is into the potential of what can be.

Jane Anderson
Jane Andersonhttp://refininggrace.com/
JANE’s professional experience is scattered across industries from financial services and insurance to engineering and manufacturing. Jane sees her background in writing and editing website content as the foundation to her current love of social media. Being an avid reader, meticulous note taker and lifelong learner has fostered her natural pursuit of sharing her world through writing. Reading books and summarizing content started as a hobby and has since grown to be a major part of her vocational experience. Jane says, “Authors pour their heart and soul into writing their book. When I write a review, it’s with intent to celebrate the book and promote the author.” Jane claims to be 'the best follower you'll ever want to meet' and has been repeatedly called servant leader, eternal cheerleader, social media evangelist, and inspirational go-to person. Jane is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

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