February 10, 2017
Innovation Won’t Work Without This
To sell an idea to stakeholders, buyers and users, we not only have to change what they think but how they think.
To sell an idea to stakeholders, buyers and users, we not only have to change what they think but how they think. Without the right mental model, they won’t see the problem, understand the benefits or choose to change. Mental models are like sorting hats; they are how our minds make sense of the world around us, the vast amount of information we process and intuitive perception of our actions and their consequences. They filter the signal from the noise.
For example, consider the mental model: “Life is like chess.” If you believe this mental model, you’ll see life as a strategic game with winners and losers following set rules, and you may set the goal of winning. But if your mental model is that “life’s a beach,” then you may see life as more fun, with no winners and losers and no rules. You may expect that forces beyond your control like the waves of the ocean can influence you but that you can use them to have fun.
See also: Innovation Happens at the Edge
Often dubbed as the “Monaco of the East,” Singapore the red dot has beaten a path to steady economic progress and prosperity since the 1970s. Much of the success can be attributed to the vision of one man, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, who reigned for more than 30 years, making him the world’s longest serving prime minister. He was unafraid of challenging popular ideologies. Right up to the end of his life, Lee believed in constantly adapting to the changing realities of the world and refreshing his mental map. He sought the views of experts in industry, academia, politics and journalism. But having processed their arguments, he did not let himself be swayed if he absolutely believed something else was in the best long-term interest of Singapore. I was drawn to his vision and chose to move to Singapore to experience the economic miracle. I have seen first-hand how one man has changed how people think and as a result transformed Singapore from the “third world to the first world in a single generation.”
See also: How to Master the ABCs of Innovation
Innovations that change the world need to be explained before they can be accepted. Brands that successfully sell their innovations have been able to change how we think, feel and connect with not only their products but ourselves and the world around us.