Think Different

Marketing—like any work involving creativity—gains strength from the collision of diverse perspectives. But tapping this vein is easier said than done. Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • A few decades later, Mister Think Different himself, Steve Jobs, made this observation about creativity.
  • These are not isolated opinions. Volumes of research—including some peer reviewed studies—have validated the clear connection between diverse perspectives and fresh ideas.
  • And yet, putting this theory into practice in a business context is not easy. The barriers here are many.
  • First, you have to hire a diverse mix of people—which requires a lot more than just good intentions: “Even if your company is committed to diversity and inclusion, you might have hidden biases in your hiring strategies.”
  • It’s also important to keep in mind that diversity has many dimensions—not all of them immediately visible.
  • Once the right cast is in place, you next need to create a climate of psychological safety that encourages people to speak up and share their ideas.
  • If you’re curious, you can easily gauge the degree of psychological safety on your team using Amy Edmondson’s five questions.
  • If it turns out you need to make improvements here, the folks at Canva suggest a simple starting point: demonstrate your own vulnerability.
  • Side note: if you’re wondering what safety feels like in a hybrid work environment, this HBR piece is worth a read.
  • The right cast and a commitment to psychological safety might not be enough to spark fresh ideas. Some subtle leadership behaviours can still get in the way.
  • The trick here, according to Dina Smith, is to watch out for any behaviours that create an echo chamber around you. One example: reacting with impatience when presented with ideas that are not yet fully baked.
  • Smith goes on to offer some helpful tips to prevent an echo chamber from forming. Our favourite is beautifully simple: “Build a habit of speaking last in meetings to hear a more diverse set of ideas and mitigate groupthink.
  • The last frontier of thinking different exists within each of us as individuals. Recent research indicates that pushing ourselves to listen to contrary opinions is a habit worth cultivating.
  • And then there’s the other side of the coin. What happens if you’re the lone voice of dissent who’s breaking the groupthink mode?
  • If you’re in this position, Todd B. Kashdan has some sage advice for you: “Stay on point, no matter who you talk to or what skepticism emerges.”
  • Staying on point is good advice no matter what position you’re in. The barriers here are not insubstantial but, with some persistence, you and your team can tap into the power of Proust’s “100 universes”.
Issue #148
Jul 31, 2022

Further Reading