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The Human Element

Bring Your New & Exciting Ideas to Life

Book Review by Taylor Berrett

Turn Anyone into a Cheerleader for Your Ideas

Innovative thinking is hard to come by. While everyone is capable of coming up with creative solutions to problems, tapping into our brain power in order to come up with a truly original idea can be a real challenge. This explains why so many books, lectures, TED talks, and blogs are dedicated to unlocking creativity, embracing our innovative capabilities and coming up with truly game-changing ideas.

However, there’s a lot less guidance on what comes next. Let’s say you’ve had that game changing idea. You’ve created a transformative product. You’ve developed a service that you know is capable of changing the world. Now what? How do you convince the world that something which didn’t exist yesterday is now absolutely essential?

It is into this untapped area that authors Loran Nordgren and David Schonthal reveal their insights in The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas. Both professors on management, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Schonthal and Nordgren have studied and conducted research on what causes people to either accept or reject new ideas – and how entrepreneurs can use these principles to their benefit.

Fuel vs. Friction

At the center of The Human Element is the idea that most marketers, innovators, executives, creators, and activists believe that the greatest obstacle to their ideas being adopted is the power of the ideas themselves – the ‘Fuel’ mindset. They believe that the only way to convince other people to adopt those ideas is to add the right value, the right features, the right benefits. But the truth is that this only leads to bloated products and unfocused ideas, which won’t get us any closer to adoption.

Instead, the book’s authors advocate for increased focus on ‘Frictions’— the psychological barriers that make people naturally resistant to change. By exploring the core Frictions that operate in opposition to innovation, The Human Element helps readers bring new ideas into the world and disarm these forces of resistance at every turn.

In fact, this powerful book shows how these Frictions can actually be turned into catalysts for change. By tapping into that psychological aversion to discomfort, we can actually get people onboard with our ideas more effectively than any feature or improvement to the idea or product itself.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve ever wondered why your best ideas or initiatives keep getting rejected despite the fact that they have undeniable value, it may be time to stop focusing on your Fuel and start focusing on your audience’s Frictions. The Human Element is a highly recommended guide that will help you identify what those frictions are, how they manifest in people everywhere, and how you can not only keep them from standing in your way but also turn them into your greatest assets on your way to widespread adoption of even your most innovative ideas.

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Taylor Berrett

Taylor Berrett is a Contributing Writer at Soundview. He is also a freelance writer, editor, and host of the podcast Alone in a Room. His other book reviews can be found here.

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