Archive - May 1, 2015

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Innovation Through Metaphors

Innovation Through Metaphors

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.58.49 AMThis month’s edition of my, “What’s the Big Idea?” podcast features Keith Holyoak, a cognitive psychology professor at University of California at Los Angeles.

We discussed his research on the use of metaphors and patterns to develop new solutions to problems. Analogical thinking, Holyoak told me, “is one of the hallmarks of human thinking,”  It has led to inventions such as Velcro, which an engineer created after noticing the tiny hooks that enabled burrs attach to fur and clothing.

For organizations trying to break out of set patterns, Dr. Holyoak said it is very important to bring people together who have different ways of looking at the world. We too often think of diversity as a reflection of people’s backgrounds and ethnicity, and don’t think enough about different ways of thinking as a key ingredient for creating teams of innovators.

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