Innovation Mental Block #3

The third installment on the subject of mental blocks. Being lured into making wrong assumptions.

Market players can be so occupied with their competitors, that thing they compete on are assumed to be really important. For example mobile phones that just 20 years ago had fascinating shapes, just see weird phones. Perhaps then, but today flat and 99% screen seem to be the only essential shape aspects.

Another faded-away assumption was the importance of mobile phone stand-by time. You could read a newspaper ad proclaiming “14 days stand-by time!”. Three outdated items in one sentence! Everybody nowadays accepts that a phone must be charged once or twice a day. And why have stand-by time when you continuously use your phone?

I.e. never assume that your customers deem something important, just because you and the industry do. This triplet on mental blocks inhibiting anything else but incrementalist innovation is drawing to a close. But not before I have ventured to make a prediction on an assumption. Yes live dangerously!

Today still, ‘any car’ will advertise its 0-100 km/h acceleration. Even for a low powered car it is assumed to be of interest, its 11.9 second 0-100 km/h acceleration. Despite all the writings on the wall! I predict that within three years, car manufacturers will have realized the falsehood of this assumption and less than 10% of car brochures will even mention this information.


Lots of success with your innovations. Please be at least aware of your mental blocks. Actively look for ‘new’ unexplored angles, ‘new dimensions’ and ‘freedom from assumptions’.  Because being an incrementalist is a very natural tendency, but as innovator a bad habit. Next week you will get the solution to the last puzzle.

It is so obvious, when you see it.

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

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This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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