Recognizing and Shaking Up Our Assumptions

How do we go about uncovering our fixed ideas and assumptions? Assumptions are the enemy of innovation.

Photo of Joy Hurd
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Photo of Moss Pike

Hi, Joy! I really love this idea (along with you "Cost of Innovation" post) and am excited to continue thinking through them in our "Ideate" phase, where we can build prototypes of methods to test assumptions. How might we infuse our communities with this kind of thinking? Is it a matter of putting posters, games, etc. on the walls? Can we develop an "Assumption Buster" game or tool? Eager to think this through in more detail, and I hope you share more ideas with another post!

Photo of Jessica Lura

Interesting article. It definitely makes me think about how often we teach students using functional fixedness.

From the article:
"When we think of an object—a candle, say—we tend to think of its name, appearance and purpose all at once. We have expectations about how the candle works and what we can do with it. Psychologists call this rigid thinking “functional fixedness.”

I wonder if this why younger students seem more creative and outside of the box thinkers-- they are not as limited by labels and fixed purposes? This also ties into posting about unstructured legos versus lego kits--the open endness of one versus the "this is what this is used for" of the other.

Photo of Moss Pike

I think you're absolutely right! I read something recently on the bias that assumptions give us in exactly the way you've identified. I'll try to dig it up.

Photo of Moss Pike

Great share; thanks, Joy! Assumption busting is something I've come to value in the design process, and I think we should be asking what our assumptions are at every stage. Would love to think through some effective ways we can identify what our assumptions are and challenge them.