Our brains makeup roughly 2% of our body weight, yet use 20% of our energy. The brain is the single most energy intensive organ in our body, but through evolution, our brain has found ways to conserve energy, and thus, we have developed cognitive biases or short cuts.
One such bias is the pro-innovation bias, or the affinity to be overly optimistic about an innovation’s practicality in society. This bias can get in the way of our thinking and cause us to overlook limitations or weaknesses of an idea.
Becoming Aware of our Biases
One of the greatest examples of this is the Titanic. The magnificent ship was one of the most innovative developments of its time, and it was proclaimed to be the “unsinkable ship.”
When the Titanic collided with an iceberg it punched holes into the starboard side of the ship, causing water to flood the ship, and ultimately causing the ship to sink. Many different factors played into the tragedy of the Titanic, including the ship was sailing too fast, the iron rivets were too weak, and because of its “unsinkable” reputation, too few life boats were placed on the ship to save all of those aboard. Learn more about cognitive biases that impact our agility here.
Blinded by the Light
Many times a new invention or an exciting new opportunity can send us reeling in enthusiasm and eagerness towards the finish line, but oftentimes this will lead to an oversight that should have been easily spotted. One way to avoid this kind of oversight is through developing a pre-mortem.
Conducting a pre-mortem is a strategy found in the Unlocking Personal Agility course and it is what saves us from looking back on a project gone wrong, and thinking how could I have not foreseen that issue?
Personal Agility Spawns Corporate Agility
By asking your staff to sit down and conduct a pre-mortem, you are essentially asking them to imagine that the project fails – “What are all of the scenarios in which the project might fail and what could happen if it does?” These kinds of questions will help your team to work backward to determine the flaws in the project and what could lead to failure. A pre-mortem’s purpose is to help you identify the weaknesses now to eliminate any defects before the launch of a new idea or project.
Here at TRACOM, we just recently put the use of a pre-mortem to the test for one of our own projects. We redesigned the navigation of the website and prior to launch, we had our marketing department, head of sales, and lead developer sit down and make a list of everything that could potentially go wrong post website cut-over.
A few items from our list included:
- Content is deleted and lost.
- Broken urls across pages, blogs and PDFs
- Links within individual emails recently sent won’t work
- 3rd party scripts stop working
- Naming changes could harm SEO
- Doesn’t work well on different platforms/devices
By brainstorming together we each brought a unique insight to the group and we were able to address issues that might not have been thought of individually, but we were also able to come up with solutions that might not have been seen if everyone was working by themselves.
Conducting a pre-mortem is just one of the useful tools that the Unlocking Personal Agility course teaches participants.
Click here to learn more about TRACOM’s Agility Model.