Innovation Comes From Creating New Memories

by Jay Deragon on 01/16/2012

Our brains get programmed from experience. When we repeat the same experience over and over we convince our memory to expect the same experience.  When we walk into a room, a mall and even when we go online we expect a certain experience because our brains tell us what to expect based on the past experience. Change the experience and you change the memory.

HBR had an article by Art Markman titled Dont Think Different, Think About Different Things  which states Memory provides you with the information it thinks you need when it thinks you need it. When you are walking through the supermarket or asked to think about it, information about food and shopping is easy to recall. When you are at a football game, your knowledge of the rules and types of plays is easy to think about, but the texture of fresh romaine lettuce is not.

When you need to solve a problem in a new way, you have two options. One is pure research and development. The other requires finding knowledge which we already know that offers a novel solution. When you gather a group for an ideation session, you are betting that the group already knows how to solve the problem, they just have to find the answer.  Pulling information from memory to solve problems happens effortlessly. To find innovative ways to solve a problem, you need to ask your memory the right question.

Tapping Into More Memories

Individually we solve problems based on our memories experience. Collectively we can solve more problems because we’re tapping into a larger pool of memories.  The social web is a platform of memories made and being created, one to one to millions second by second.  The collaborative nature of the human network enabled with connectivity to larger human networks ignites problem solving through discovery of innovation like never before. New memories are being created.

When you consider that in the last two years more information has been created than ever before in history you can see the building of a “human memory network” that is vast and accessable in real-time.  When you enable groups, millions, of people to examine a problem and contribute to finding a solution a new dynamic is created…..thinking about different things instead of just thinking differently.

Thinking about different things requires input from those with different memories. Institutional thinking has created institutional memories.  Since everything has shifted to the unusual the usual solutions to old problems no longer work. In other words organizations can no longer rely on old memories they must create new ones.  Memories come from experiences and all things social are changing the memories of everything and everyone at the click of a mouse.

Innovate and you create the next memory.  Old memories can be good but new ones are better.

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