Vuda de … Deja vu

By Warren Berger via blogs.hbr.org   Article

Can You See the Opportunity Right in Front of You?

“Do you find your household thermostat to be endlessly fascinating? How about that smoke alarm installed in your basement — spend much time gazing at it with wonder? Tony Fadell did. The founder of Nest has had a lifelong penchant for looking at mundane everyday household devices and wondering Why hasn’t somebody improved this thing? That tendency led him to reinvent the aforementioned gadgets — and recently resulted in a $3 billion payday, when Nest was acquired earlier this year by Google. …

Which brings us to the late comedian George Carlin and the powers of vuja de. That term was made up by Carlin, in a bit of wordplay that put a twist on the familiar concept of déjà vu, that sensation of being in a strange circumstance yet feeling as if you’ve been there before. Imagine the reverse of that: you’re in a situation that is very familiar, something you’ve seen or done countless times before, but you feel as if you’re experiencing something completely new. …

Stanford University professor Bob Sutton, author of the new book Scaling Up for Excellence, was among the first to make a connection, more than a decade ago, between the Carlin vuja deperspective and innovation. Sutton, and later Tom Kelley of IDEO, pointed out that innovators could potentially spark new ideas and insights if they could somehow manage to look at the familiar—their own products, their customers, their work processes—as if seeing it for the first time. Adopting this view, business leaders and managers might be more apt to notice inconsistencies and outdated methods, as well as untapped opportunities.”

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