It’s not always easy overcoming the resistance to new ideas. Believe it or not, friction is the key .
If you have an idea or an innovation you want to introduce to the world, you might already be quite familiar with people being less enthusiastic about it than yourself. According to a new book, it’s not what sells the idea you need to focus on, it’s the friction.
With friction operating against change, and hence the willingness of people buying into something, you come a long way by focusing on this rather than what fuels yours idea. Professors Loren Nordgren and David Schonthal describes it like this:
Ignoring frictions when pursuing ideas would be like building an airplane and caring only about engines and not aerodynamics. This is precicesly what innovators do when they try to get their ideas off the ground. Well no wonder than, that so few of these ideas take flight.Professors Loren Nordgren and David Schonthal
Their new book The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance that Awaits New Ideas tells us to focus less on winning arguments and insentives, and more on four types of friction we need to overcome:
1. Inertia – our tendency to stick with old habits and routines unless we’re compelled to change.
2. Effort – How much effort is entailed for a person to accept the change that comes with this new idea
3. Reactance – the reluctant feeling when we feel pressure to change
4. Emotion – adjusting your idea to address the emotional obstancles that stand in the way
Adopting a friction mindset can be useful in many situations. Just think about the Covid-19 pandemic and how it has required people to change behaviors and adopt new ideas to keep themselves and others safe. Yet these ideas have also faced friction from the public.
Here are the four frictions translated into questions you can ask yourself:
1. Does the idea represent a major change?
2. How much effort is your idea going to require of people?
3. Does your audience feel pressured to change? If so, it could be helpful to assist them in gaining an own sense of autonomy and control
4. What negative emotions might this change evoke? For example fear, anger, anxiety?
Remember that some frictions are easier to spot than others. I hope this article helps more people to buy into your ideas!
The new book comes out on October 5.
Curious? You can pre-order it here, like I did.