Obstacles to change – concentration required and errors while learning

An article in the McKinsey Quarterly, 2008, No. 4, at 131, by two Stanford professors, has much to offer about innovation in an organization. “Learning how to do something new is far more time-consuming than doing what you already know; it requires far more mental effort to be in the ‘mindful’ state required for learning and experimentation than in the ‘mindless’ state required for ingrained actions. Moreover, people who are learning and innovating tend to make mistakes and experience setbacks, which are often upsetting and lead to inefficiency.”

Ease the burdens on your lawyers when they venture into new ways of working. Innovation is often perceived as difficult, expensive, and protracted, but it need not be. So-called affordances help ease shifts of behavior (See my post of Feb. 5, 2009: ergonomics and affordances.). As the authors would tell general counsel, “Boost the odds that innovative ideas will spread, by encouraging their [law departments] to identify affordances that help people learn about, understand, and apply new products, systems, and procedures” (See my post of Dec. 21, 2008: change management with 16 references cited.).

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