"It's a pickle of a paradox: As our knowledge and expertise increase, our creativity and ability to innovate tend to taper off. Why? Because the walls of the proverbial box in which we think are thickening along with our experience.
This so-called curse of knowledge, a phrase used in a 1989 paper in The Journal of Political Economy, means that once you’ve become an expert in a particular subject, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what you do."
Here are proven ways to to exorcise the curse:
- Chip Heath, who with his brother, Dan, was a co-author of the 2007 book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.” In their book, the Heath brothers outline six “hooks” that they say are guaranteed to communicate a new idea clearly by transforming it into what they call a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. Each of the letters in the resulting acronym, Succes, refers to a different hook. (“S,” for example, suggests simplifying the message.) Although the hooks of “Made to Stick” focus on the art of communication, there are ways to fashion them around fostering innovation.
- In her 2006 book, “Innovation Killer: How What We Know Limits What We Can Imagine — and What Smart Companies Are Doing About It,” Cynthia Barton Rabe proposes bringing in outsiders whom she calls zero-gravity thinkers to keep creativity and innovation on track.
BOTTOMLINE: "Look for people with renaissance-thinker tendencies, who’ve done work in a related area but not in your specific field,” Barton says. “Make it possible for someone who doesn’t report directly to that area to come in and say the emperor has no clothes.” (Ed: Sounds like Six Disciplines accountability coaches to me!)