Your Innovation is as Good as Your Thinking System

Share this

Have you ever felt in love with the first idea that came to your mind and later realized that it was not such a good idea? 

In his book, thinking fast and thinking slow, psychologist Daniel Kahneman talks about System 1 (fast thinking) and System 2 (slow thinking). System 1 is fast and error-prone and works automatically, incautiously, and effortlessly. We use it for most of our day-to-day decisions. System 2 is slower and more deliberate; it’s effortful, reliable, and great for making complex decisions.

Which system of thinking do we use in usual meetings or in making most everyday life decisions? Mostly fast thinking. 

But how about when we deal with complex topics? In theory, slow thinking, but in practice, since we are conditioned to find solutions through discussions, most teams do not use slower and more deliberate thinking. 

Understanding the systems of thinking is essential in innovating novel solutions for demanding AEC problems. I often see innovation as a coin; on one side, you have a problem, and on the other side, you have a novel solution. So, as a leader, you need to deeply understand the problem and ensure that EVERYONE in your team has the same deep understanding of the problem. On the solution side of the coin, you and your team often need to re-imagine your processes or invent a new one, which is not an easy task. 

So, when it comes to innovating new solutions for your complex problems, which system of thinking should you use? The answer. Slow and deliberate thinking. 

But, how can you create an environment for deliberate thinking?

In “Augment It”, I talk more about how to create such environments, which I summarize below.

  1. Form a diverse team. You need to form a team and bring a group of people who are diversified in age, gender, ethnicity, race, and mindset. Think about bringing people from different personality types: detail-oriented and big-picture thinkers, introverts, and extroverts.
  2. Run silent brainstorming sessions. If ideating for solutions, run silent brainstorming sessions where each team member ideates individually. This way, each team member will have time to think more deliberately on how to solve the problem.
  3. Give everyone a chance to speak. Based on their personality or culture, some people don’t share their thoughts until they are asked to do so (they often have the best ideas). So, it is important to give everyone a chance to speak and share their ideas with others.
  4. Choose the best ideas. In this step, you need to work with your team to evaluate each idea and prioritize them based on their merits in generating business values.  

Your innovation capacity depends on the diversity of your team and how you foster an environment for deliberate thinking where all voices and ideas are heard. Without conscious thinking, ideating, and exploring various solutions, you may jump into a solution too fast, leading to a costly learning experience.   

How are you listening to the most silent ideas in your organization?

Share this