Perspective is a funny thing. We all think we have it, but are often caught out by somebody else’s view.
Her: Dad, can I go to Reading Festival in the summer?
Me: But you’ll just be sixteen and it makes me a bit sad to see you grow up so fast.
Her: I know, Dad, it makes me sad too – if I can’t go.
Practical tests of perspective
Stand on a beach, and if you’re about 2m or 6 feet tall, the horizon is 5km away.
Climb up the cliff, and things look very different at a hundred feet above sea level. The horizon is 20km away and it’s wider too. More sea to see. More things to see on the sea.
Back to the question: why do companies do what they do, sometimes without changing, for so long? Because that’s what the people in those companies were trained to do.
It might seem obvious, but it’s why we recommend taking advantage of ‘innovation’ and inviting in external, non-biased assistance.
Here’s an industry example of where perspective is causing some concern.
One in every five American newsroom journalists lives in one of three cities: New York, Washington DC and LA. Can this possibly give the average US voter a balanced view of news and politics?
Similarly, do you read trade journals, visit trade shows and meet industry reps? That’s all well and good, but we’d ask you, ‘when do you see anything else?’
Social media is having a significant impact on the way we all see the world and how we perceive influences in it. On the whole, people tend to believe what they see, and we consume a lot: in fact, over 300,000 words a day – that’s a novel a day, even for the self-proclaimed non-readers amongst you.
This all adds up to a lot of processing and opinion-forming that may have almost nothing to do with reality.
The Washington Daily Post has compiled a count of Donald Trump’s daily falsehoods since he was elected, and it currently stands at over 13,000*. Most of these have gone broadly unchallenged or, at least, unresolved. In the face of this volume of potential misinformation, it’s understandable that many people believe the spin.
After all, this is how marketing works: the more times you see a message, the more inclined you are to tip from awareness of a brand to putting your trust in it.
So, if you restrict the data your innovation process consumes to the industry you are in, it can only limit the potential for new ideas. Far better, we believe, to be open to a wide spectrum of influences.
At room44 we claim one thing: to be completely naive about your business while being expert in innovation. You don’t need more of the expertise you already have. What you need is different expertise and moderation. We will always approach your business from an angle that you don’t, and we’ll always see potential in the ideas you may have had but not acted on.
If this sounds interesting, please drop half an hour into my diary and let’s have a chat.
Future-thinking. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.
*Ed Pilkington, The Guardian.