Innovators Avoid Confirmation Bias

12/08/2009 10:11 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"[O]ne key to being a better innovator is building a diverse network of contacts. Data says that people who have more varied connections hear more diverse information, and see patterns before other people."

That is from a study on innovation by researchers at Harvard, INSEAD, and Brigham young that is summarized here. Hat tip to Margaret Coughlin for the reference.

Spending time with people who see the world differently is very hard, as I can testify. But it's also fruitful. We naturally tend to spend time with people with whom we share a common view. That helps confirm our biases but often fails to force us to see the world in all its true complexity. It is also partly why good art can be jarring at first, and why it can pay to avoid snap judgements.