Innovation Mental Block #1

Innovation is difficult! Often because of ourselves, we all have our mental blocks. Like looking at things from the wrong angle.

We all suffer from mental blocks one way or the other. Such a block will make it very difficult for someone to ‘see’ deviant opportunities. In an effort to promote at least awareness of this dangerous state of mind, I will try to examine three different types of mental blocks inhibiting innovation. The first installment is on ‘looking at things from the wrong angle’.

Having a dominant place in an industry is an ideal position to become an ‘incrementalist’. The world can be optimized further, but only in your direction. Specific, and perhaps even incidental, circumstances that have led to a dominant position, have seemingly become laws of nature.

Once upon a time, copying a sheet of paper meant a ‘wet chemical process’ and a cost per page equal to one hourly wage of a typist. Based on the idea that a ‘wet chemical process’ is a law of nature for copying, the 1950 prediction of a total global demand for 5,000 copying machines seems quite understandable.

Being able to look at the problem from another angle might disprove this seemingly immutable law. By replacing the law of ‘wet and chemical’ by the innovative idea of ‘dry and electrostatic’ you might have found that new angle to copying. Which enables you to drive down today’s cost of one copy to 0.1% of the hourly wage of a typist.

Does your company have a strong position in its industry? Are you certain that certain obstacles will never be overcome? Perhaps time to reconsider?

Mental blocks when developing innovation
Three articles by Jeroen de Kempenaer:
  1. Innovation is difficult! Often because of ourselves, we all have our mental blocks. Like looking at things from the wrong angle.
  2. Continuing on the subject of mental blocks. Being unable to see a new dimension is another of such blocks.
  3. The third installment on the subject of mental blocks. Being lured into making wrong assumptions.

jeroen de kempenaer philips innovation services

Jeroen de Kempenaer
Value propositions, business modeling, business cases, road mapping, portfolio management

Find more information about developing innovations with winning business models ›

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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