This is a tough one for me to convey David, because there’s definitely a time-and-place for that “blink”/decide.
First, I can totally agree with the premise that sometimes (as in the examples you cited) this is the ONLY way to make a decision.
Also, Blinking can be a great way to make a decision that’s “good enough”. (I’m not disparaging “good enough” here by the way, I’m a big fan of “good enough“!) When the potential benefit of “the best” decision is not that different from the potential harm from “the worst” decision, almost any decision is “good enough”. It’s therefore not worth the time and effort to evaluate alternatives to make “the best” decision.
Why I recommend not blinking when trying to be innovative, is I don’t believe that trying to be innovative generally fits into those categories. That is, I don’t think there’s often a requirement for instant decision making (when trying to be innovative), and I do think in the kind of scenarios where innovation is important, there can be a great disparity between the cost of a bad decision vs. the benefits of a good one.
For every “Eureka!” or “Ah-Ha!” moment (instant, innovative, and potentially very good decisions), I’ve seen dozens of “No”, “We can’t do that”, or “We’ve always done it this way” (instant, uninnovative, and potentially very bad decisions); for all the reasons I’ve mentioned:
– There’s a bias toward the presumption that we’re already as efficient as we can be.
– We generally don’t like change, and as circumstances force change, systems and procedures often evolve with marginal modifications and marginal changes in work practices, and we end up with a multitude of addendums and workarounds that get us quickly back on our original track.
– Blinking can also prevent us from considering alternatives outside of our comfort zone.
I think innovation often requires what Kim Salkeld called “rigorous thinking” instead of Blink/Act, or maybe more often: Blink/Don’t. Logic in place of instinct. Thoughtfulness in place of knee-jerk reactions.
You said, “I’ve seen a lot of innovation (and some really good decisions) in the blink of an eye & am a believer.” Agreed. Rigorous thinking, logic, and thoughtfulness does not negate those great decisions, but validates them. It also has the added benefit of smoking out bad decisions.
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