Food For Thought
The problem is that data, information, and value propositions are not enough to sell innovative products.
We all know the saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
But when it comes to innovation, the truth is often “I’ll see it when I believe it.”
To sell your idea to buyers, and users, you have to change not only what they think, but how they think.
Without the right "Mental Model", they won’t see the problem, understand the benefits, or make the change.
"Mental Models" are how the brain makes sense of the vast amount of information to be processed every day.
> They are the lens through which we see the world.
> The filter that separates the value from noise.
> The framework for attributing cause and effect.
> The “sorting hat” to decide what makes it into our conscious awareness.
To understand the power of "Mental Models", consider Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, a physician working in Vienna in the 1840s. He observed that the death rate from disease fell tenfold when doctors washed their hands before treating patients.
He shared his findings with his colleagues to introduce hand-washing as a standard practice.
Despite the data, his fellow doctors dismissed his findings.
In fact, his colleagues and even his own wife thought he was losing his mind.
They had him committed to a mental institution where he died shortly thereafter.
Why couldn’t Semmelweis persuade people of his innovation?
In the 1840s, the "Mental Model" of disease was an imbalance in the body of phlegm, bile, and blood. Every disease was entirely internal and unique.
With this "Mental Model", Semmelweis’ colleagues couldn’t see how hand-washing could affect a person’s health.
It didn’t matter what the data said.
A few decades later, Louis Pasteur proved that germs, not body fluids, were the primary cause of disease.
With this new "Mental Model", doctors could understand how hand-washing would affect health.
Personal hygiene became a new standard of care.
Unfortunately, this was too late for Dr. Semmelweis.
He had failed to shift his colleagues’ thinking, and thus failed to shift their behavior.
Innovators change the lens through which we see the world.
Success requires a shift in how people think about products, the market, and the world.
Steve Jobs was one of the great mind-shifters of our time.
He championed the mantra “think different” & shifted the way people think about technology to be more human.
Think Different - A Better Way May Exist.
The really good innovations – the ones that change the world – need to be explained before they’re accepted.
“Mindshare before Market Share.”
Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Helping customers shift their thinking will be more effective at solving problems and ultimately selling products.
This post originally appeared on Harvard Business Review.
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By Wally Wiki