Monday, July 19, 2010

3rd way of reasoning - to help big companies innovate like small ones do

Today's blog entry was contributed by Robb Hughes, director of operations at Stinson Brand Innovation.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg Businessweek identified "Innovation's Accidental Enemies."

The magazine explained that when big companies are faced with a new idea, the innovator is asked to "prove it." The authors identify proof in two flavors: inductive and deductive logic. In both cases, existing data is used to provide certainty.  But for truly new ideas there isn't usually enough data and thus not enough proof. Consequently, real innovation has a hard time going beyond the drawing board.

The authors argue that big company cultures should accept and encourage a third logic -- abductive reasoning -- the logic of what could be.  Then innovation could be nurtured, proof produced later and dreams could become reality.  Click here to read more.

Abduction is defined as a method of logical inference which comes prior to induction and deduction.  The colloquial name is a "hunch." Abductive reasoning starts when an inquirer considers of a set of seemingly unrelated facts, armed with an intuition that they are somehow connected. The term abduction is commonly presumed to mean the same thing as hypothesis; however, an abduction is actually the process of inference that produces a hypothesis as its end result.

Could your company allow more abductive reasoning? How would it help your company encourage innovation?

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