Bringing in Insights from Analogous Fields

By Mission

So, a group of roofers, carpenters, and skaters all walk into a room… I promise you this isn’t the beginning of a bad joke. It’s the beginning of a research project conducted in 2013 by the Harvard Business Review. Researchers presented the groups with the following question: how can roofers’ safety belts, carpenters’ respirator masks, and skaters’ knee pads be redesigned to increase their comfort and use? Each participant had to submit an answer for all three problems. So whose ideas won out? And why?It’s a simple experiment with surprising innovative results that are informative when trying to understand how Deloitte has found success for decades. On this episode of Business X factors, all the answers will be revealed by Rich Penkoski, the CEO of Markets at Deloitte, who explains how unorthodox thinking helps lead to innovative strategies for the global consulting company and its clients.  Main Takeaways: Look Over the Fence: The idea of mixing malls and mines or makeup with surgical infections may not sound like a good idea, but bringing ideas and people that are analogous together, could make for surprising innovation and radical inventions. Look for fields that are more advanced in technology for inspiration or creative people who are old hat at coming up with out-of-the-box ideas and bring them into the fold.  You Belong: One of the greatest obstacles to moving outside your comfort zone is the fear of looking like an imposter or poser.  There are, however, benefits to being a novice with a fresh perspective. Many problems are solved with fresh ideas and a different way of thinking, and so-called outsiders offer that critical new perspective. That’s why companies should prioritize bringing in as many different kinds of people with as many diverse backgrounds as possible. Flatten the Hierarchy: Many companies are structured like a military chain of command.  By flattening the organizational structure with fewer layers, communication can be clearer, decisions can be made more quickly, there is increased autonomy and empowerment for workers, and fresh ideas from younger workers can be heard.   One Small Step: It is exciting to try to shoot out the lights by adopting new innovation, but if you aim too high and it is unachievable, you may just fall back to the old. Aim high but make sure that you build in enough runway so that you can appropriately adopt and adapt to a new solution. Taking a stepped or staged approach to innovation is often the more achievable route.---Business X factors is produced by and brought to you by Hyland. For over a decade, Hyland has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, leading the way to help people get the information they need when and where they need it. More than half of 2019 Fortune 100 companies rely on Hyland to help them create more meaningful connections with the people they serve. When your focus is on the people you serve, Hyland stands behind you. Hyland is your X factor for better performance. Go to to learn more.

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