Whether you’re deciding which candidate to hire, which supplier to use, which strategy to pursue, or which idea to develop – the ability to make a good decision is vital.
But how do you decide whether the decision you’re making is the right one?
At OTB, we’ve long realised the power of innovation marketing when it comes to decision making, and that’s why we incorporate all marketing activity within the innovation process. This includes tasks like research into changing customer needs, product testing with customers and assessing how new marketed products are received. The primary focus should be on the customer and market orientation, with all products, services and processes aligning to the needs of customers or users. This all plays a pivotal role in increasing the success of any implemented innovation and helps to prevent blindspots from occurring.
Innovation and marketing go hand in hand
You cannot have marketing without innovation, or innovation without marketing. It really is that simple. If you consider that the goal of innovation is to produce greater market success, it becomes immediately obvious that innovation marketing is an integral part of the innovation process.
From identifying new trends to researching customer needs that your new product could potentially fulfil, it’s clear that the relationship between marketing and innovation is fluid and interdependent. By recognising that one doesn’t work without the other, you can unearth new opportunities within your market and expand your reach, which ultimately leads to increased sales for your business.
Can you trust the decisions you’re making?
In short, yes… as long as you remember two major factors that contribute to blindspots in our decision making and thinking.
We all have unconscious biases
Unconscious biases, a.k.a implicit biases, are the underlying attitudes or prejudices that people unconsciously attribute to another person or group of people, place, thing or idea that affects how they understand or engage with these things. And we’re all guilty of our decisions being impacted by this. It explains the way that humans naturally gravitate towards people who share common interests – be it educational background, ethnicity, class or dress sense.
Put your unconscious biases under the microscope here.
Selective attention affects us all
Selective attention is the process of focusing on a particular object in the environment for a certain period of time. Attention is a limited resource, so selective attention allows us to tune out unimportant details and focus on what matters. Think back to that conversation you weren’t engaged in at all until you heard your name mentioned and then you were engrossed – that’s selective attention in action.
How selective is your attention? Play to find out.
Unconscious biases and selective attention are things that affect us all and our ability to make the right decision. But by better understanding them and how they blinker decision making, we can help eradicate the blindspots that they previously allowed to flourish and arrive at the correct decision.
Avoiding problems associated with blindspots
In our experience, the companies that produce the best results and innovate most successfully are those with a diverse workforce; their team members don’t all think or problem solve alike, process information or see the world in the same way. Crucially, they have different perspectives, which prevents the company as a whole ignoring ongoing problems or unconventional but ideal solutions. It cannot be overstated how important it is to surround your team with diverse thinkers. If each member of your team thinks differently and sees the problem differently, you’ll be less susceptible to blindspots.
Perspective also informs how we lead. In the past, innovative leaders were those that charged head-on into the abyss, with no care for who was following them or what was awaiting them. Today’s leaders are more inclusive and actively seek out those that disagree with them. Why? Because this may expose a flaw in their own thinking that they hadn’t considered. Also, an idea built in collaboration will always beat an idea developed in isolation.
Our thinking is shaped by our culture, upbringing and personal experiences. Companies that bring people together from different walks of life — think the detailed orientated account manager working closely with the creative idealist —will find the most success in creating, innovating and ultimately implementing.
Identify the different thinkers in your team and discover what makes them tick with our personality profile quiz.
Typical decision making process
Step 1: Realise that you need to make a decision.
Step 2: Gather relevant information.
Step 3: Identify a list of possible solutions.
Step 4: Assess the strength of the evidence.
Step 5: Choose a solution.
Step 6: Take action and implement solution.
Step 7: Review your decision and its consequences.
Of the seven step decision making process shown above, how many steps do you think will be influenced by your blindspots? The answer is all of them.
Simply put, inviting a variety of perspectives to contribute in your decision making process means it becomes about the here and now rather than what has happened in the past. Innovation marketing ensures that avenues worthy of further exploration aren’t neglected or dismissed, which unlocks your organisation’s potential to maximise performance.