Imagine you see something unusual: a new idea, an unusual solution. Instead of cheering, you first feel a sense of rejection. “That looks weird,” you think. Maybe you also tend to say, “wierdo.” Why is that? Quite simple: Our brain automatically prefers known solutions to unknown ones. This works faster than constantly searching for new solutions.
You can test this mental barrier to creativity and innovation on yourself. After you have invested a long learning all functionalities of your new e-mail program, after you finally know where to find which menu items and after you have finally figured out how to categorize mails, the following message suddenly appears: “Download version 3.1. now. New user interface.” How do you react?
“Yes, great, I got bored with the old user interface!”
“I didn’t have anything to do on holiday anyway, so I can go to further education and retrain.”
“For God’s sake, how can I prevent this download?”
I bet you have a tendency to c). That’s the first barrier to creativity and innovation. The habit barrier is one reason why innovative solutions are often more difficult to establish on the market than one might initially think. Consumers, too, have innovation barriers in their minds that form a solid wall against the new.