Matthew Syed’s new book “Rebel Ideas” is packed with interesting perspectives on how diverse groups of people can work together better to improve business outcomes. He unpicks some fundamental human limitations and capabilities that get in the way of performance.
He focusses on a couple of crucial concepts.
First, that organizations tend to hire and promote individuals who “fit” and end up with a narrow perspective on the problems at hand in their team. Evidence shows that more diverse groups of people with different (but helpful) life experiences can unlock new solutions and get to better outcomes.
He summarizes this in the two diagrams below where the rectangle represents the alternative ways to address a problem. The “intelligent” team have a more compete view of the landscape of their situation.
Second, the power dynamic of organizations gets in the way of open and constructive input of ideas. Put simply, humans instinctively “obey” the rules of hierarchy and junior people won’t challenge the thinking of more senior people. His example is pretty dramatic and led to multiple deaths on an Everest expedition. More prosaically, a study by the University of Rotterdam proved that projects run by a senior manager had worse outcomes than those led by junior people. And that’s despite a less experienced leader – the greater input of the team more than offset that.
A third key idea he talks about is “ideas having sex”.
Evolution is fast and effective because sexual reproduction mixes gene pools. It allows radical ideas to mix and build innovation and change faster. Great innovation can come from the collision of two ideas from different places. Someone in an unrelated job or company could have something of crucial value to add. A fresh perspective.
Sensecheck is a way to inject some of this extra breadth of thinking into your business; however few of your there are and whatever resources you have. By inviting 5 random but experienced business people to give you a second opinion on your marketing ideas you can hardly fail to pick up a perspective you might not otherwise have been aware of. And who knows, perhaps one that’s a true game changer for your thinking. We maintain anonymity so your reviewers are totally empowered to say what you think. No danger of anyone kowtowing to you because you are the “Boss”. And our reciprocal nature is that members are happy to throw you their best ideas to help you on your way. That’s what our first users have found, for sure.
CEO of ShopperIntelligence and Founder of SenseCheck