Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Innovation Irony

In a prior post I pointed to Nell Minow's preference for people who are precise in their communication. It reminded me that in the past year I have caught myself being less precise in how well I choose words. One phrase I have caught myself using when talking about innovation is "creating an innovation mindset." I use the phase because I have heard so many other people talk about an ‘innovation mindset’. But "mindset" is a bad choice of words; moreover, it's ironic.

According to wikipedia: "A mindset... is described as mental inertia, "groupthink", or a "paradigm", and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon analysis and decision making processes." "Mindset...refers to a phenomenon of cognitive bias..." It gets in the way of truth.

Mindset is a contributor to what Adam Hartung calls a Lock-in behavior. It leads a company to rigid adherence to a historic success formula, even when it no longer works well.

For companies to be good at innovation, to be good at problem solving, getting to the truth is crucial. Usually the biggest hurdle to overcome is the entrenched mindset among decision makers. A bias gets in the way of being able to see truth.

I think people know what I am trying to say when I utter something about "creating an innovation mindset." But "mindset" is not correct. It is so WRONG that it’s ironic. "Penchant" would be better.
Post a Comment