I was reminded this morning of a the amazing power of Paradox to unlock a deeper view and understanding into any situation in life. Our wants, desires, drives, inclinations always seem to point us in the exact opposite direction of the truth. So before this gets too deep, how do you apply Paradox as an unlock to insight? When observing a situation, always consider the "the logic of opposite." For example, I am currently obsessed with a new game called Trivia Crack (name appropriate). One of the brilliant things that they have designed into this app is a limiter on how many games you can play in a row (they give you three lives). When you run out of lives, you have to wait an hour to play again. You would think that creating an obstacle to my desire to play the game would be counter-productive, but here comes the "paradox." It makes me want to play it more!
How does "paradox" affect your business or brand situation? How might it?
Researchers have shown that our brains are hard-wired to perceive information most effectively when it is presented as narrative. In fact, Professor Paul Zak, as stated in #HBR October 2014, conducted studies demonstrating that our brains release higher levels of oxytocin, a neurochemical that stimulates feelings of empathy, when people were exposed to effective stories. Moreover, he learned that the driver of oxytocin levels was the degree to which a story was able to garner sustained attention through the expression of tension in the story.
As an example, I went to see the movie Interstellar this past week, starring Matthew McConaughey as a reluctant hero astronaut who is called on to find a new "Earth" in time to save its inhabitants, and, most important to him, his children whom he had to leave behind. Here's the tension, every day he spends looking for a new "Earth" on the other side of a wormhole is years back on Earth. With this cosmic clock ticking, I was hooked. I was anxious for him to complete his task so that he could return to be reunited with his children before they died of old age. I am pretty sure that in this heightened state of oxytocin empathy I would have done just about anything to help his cause. Heck, maybe even buy a Lincoln! Here's a link to the trailer: http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi2585177369?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_1
So, making the long return trip back to the title of this post, The Neurobiology of Concept Writing, we have learned by experience that when developing concept statements for new product ideas, that this same principle is at work. The key is in what is generally called the "Insight Statement." Some people call this the "Accepted Consumer Belief" but in order to tweak those oxytocin levels, you have to make people feel and sense the tension. This is the bar for a great concept statement, and more rightly, the goal of every insight manager or innovator.
I'd love to hear about examples of insight statements that you believe really pushed the right buttons.
We are all familiar with the phrase "connecting the dots" especially as it relates to generating insights. Design Thinking teaches a process of "grouping" and "theming" of data, observations, etc. My observation, however, and the key to Insightful Thinking, is to connect the dots forward.
Connecting the dots forward forces you to think about the implications and the potential scenarios that the data suggest. This is where the true "ahas" occur, as we stretch the known into the imagined unknown. Anything short of this is simply descriptive of the present... sometimes useful, but not insightful.
According to scientists, there was nothing special about Einstein's brain. I would argue, however, that there was something special about his mind. What I mean by this is that Einstein had developed, or was simply naturally gifted with, exceptional powers of #insightful thinking.
Many have heard of Einstein's famous "thought experiment" where he imagined himself riding into space on beam of light holding a mirror in front of his face. Now he could have simply and narcissistically fantasized a wild ride in the cosmos happily staring at his own distinctive image in the mirror. What's really important, though, is that he did not. In fact, he imagined that, as he hurled through space at the speed of light, there was no image in the mirror. Boom! That was the flash of insight that forever changed the world.
So what is the lesson of #Einstein'sThoughtExperiment for those of us wanting to increase our own powers of insightful thinking? That is what we discuss in #The Insightful Thinking Workshop.#Einstein #Insights
In the book, The Innovation Secrets of #Steve Jobs, by Carmine Gallo, the author speaks of how Jobs did not just think differently, he perceived differently. The key to perceiving things differently is to hack the way our brain works naturally by exposing it to new experiences and paradigms. Said simply, a new experience could be to learn a new language. I am working on Italian right now. The process of learning something new forces the brain to make new connections. Paradigms are something else. The best example of this is to consider analogies and metaphors of the problem you are faced with. All of this is what we call #Insightful Thinking, and we talk about a variety of hacks that give us a greater ability to "think different."
Well, here goes. The very first post on the LaunchForce Strategy BLOG. I hope to use this BLOG to inspire discussion about the topic of Insightful Thinking. My mission is to share the principles of Insightful Thinking as inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs, for starters, although I believe there are many more inspirations to be had. Enjoy.
This blog offers stories and discussions on how to build more relevance and differentiation for brands. The author is Timothy Coffey, Chief Revolutionist of Launchforce Strategy, a consumer research consultancy that specializes in highly creative qualitative methods. His experience ranges from brand and research management at Procter & Gamble to innovation management at Tupperware to founding and leading an integrated marketing strategy agency. He is the author of three books, Innovation Myths & Mythstakes, The New Super Consumer, Mom&Kid, and The Great Tween Buying Machine.