Corporate Transformations

Corporate Transformations

 

Karen Barth explains why the majority of consumer products and corporate transformations fail due to cognitive biases. 

Why do 80% of the 30,000 consumer products launched each year and 70% of corporate transformations fail?

Often business leaders are blinded by cognitive biases, which seriously affect their decision-making – and, as a result, the revenues and welfare of their companies. It can be hard to see these biases from the inside.

Take, for instance, one of Britain’s largest food companies. The CEO and other senior leaders were looking to expand into a new market – in this case, the U.S.

I worked with them to gather data, conduct customer research and review every aspect of building a food business in the U.S., from distribution channels to marketing. A key part of the planning process was focus group research, to be held in five U.S. cities.

I’ll never forget sitting in one such city on the other side of a large one-way mirror with two senior leaders who were assigned to work with me and my team on the expansion strategy. Within minutes of the group’s start, I saw expressions of shock on their faces.

The facilitator was trying to get twelve American participants to taste steak and kidney pie, one of the most popular dishes all of the U.K. They saw with their own eyes that the Americans wouldn’t even taste it. I witnessed one senior executive scream at some of the participants, he was so frustrated. “Just taste it you idiots.” he yelled at the Americans from behind the sound-proof mirror.

 

Read the full article, Doesn’t Everyone Think (and Eat,) Like I Do? A Taste of Bias, on the Cognitive Edge website.

 

Jason George takes a look at the mind maps of the London Cabbie to illustrate the difference between storing knowledge in the brain and accessing knowledge stored elsewhere.

Having been built up over hundreds of years into its current dense and meandering tangle, London’s road network shows few signs of the regularity that characterizes its counterparts in younger countries. Prior to the advent of cheap map technology, anyone wanting to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods would need a detailed atlas to find addresses or landmarks. Finding the desired spot was akin to playing Where’s Waldo, given the thicket of alleys and courts and lanes laid out with no obvious organizing principle.

One group was notably unfazed by this challenge. London’s black cab drivers developed a well-deserved reputation for their ability to navigate to any points in the metro area with ease, with no reference to guide them. This was not accidental, as to earn their license each had to pass a legendarily grueling test that came to be known simply as the “Knowledge,” a requirement first instituted in the era of horse-drawn carriages.

 

Topics covered include:

-Mental maps

-Panopticon

-The knowledge economy

 

Read the full article, How learning changes your thinking — Mind what you knowon Jason’s website.