We work with many established businesses full of well-meaning people who want to innovate. But, they’re stuck.
This “stuck-ness” comes from knowing the product/service/process too well. Having developed the institutional knowledge with workarounds’, long-term employees learn how to “ignore” things that don’t make sense. Their challenge lies in developing strategies on adopting a beginner’s mindset as an experienced employee.
One of the simplest ways to foster a beginner’s mindset is to feel the discomfort of the problem. The surest way to do so is to stop trying to solve problems as quickly as possible.
It’s a natural human trait to solve problems as soon as they arise. However, it’s also what causes products & services to be overloaded with complex feature sets. That makes updates and maintenance a nightmare.
It may sound counterintuitive to put solving the problem on hold, but it makes you more effective at unearthing the actual customer problem. By putting solutions aside, you allow yourself to discover and connect with how using the product makes an end-user feel, and you feel first hand what pain using your product may cause. This, in turn, activates your empathy muscle, which you’ll need when coming up with solutions.
You have the best of both worlds as a long-time employee with an activated empathy muscle. On the one hand, institutional knowledge will keep you grounded in the realities and constraints of pushing a solution through the organization. On the other hand, innovative solutions will flow once you FEEL the problem (vs. thinking it through in a conference room). Try it, let us know how it goes!