“If you want to change, you have to change twice. You not only need to change the reality of your situation, you also need to change your perception of this reality.”
These are the words of Luc de Brabandere, an innovation consultant at Boston Consulting Group in Paris, written in his wonderful book: The Forgotten Half of Change. What he is trying to indicate is that you have to change things (structures, programs, ways of doing things, etc.) to improve and innovate, but you also have to change the way you look at these things: thus changing reality and changing perception are the two halves of change.
Though hard to choose one aspect of this book to focus on, one of his most interesting passages is about Seeing — perhaps because it so tied to the issue of our perceptions. He describes four seeing dichotomies:
Seeing and Perceiving — Our eyes are not cameras and we get ideas by changing our perceptions of things
Seeing and Believing — We believe what we see but sometimes we se what we believe (this is a significant problem in terms of perception of reality — I think of mental models)
Seeing and Knowing — Even though we know certain things we can still see something different; for instance, we know the earth revolves around the sun but we still see the sun setting (another mental models problem)
Seeing and Hoping — We don’t see the world as it is but as we are
These seeing dichotomies pose some limitations on us and make getting clarity on reality more difficult. Yet our perceptions and our mental models (if tested) can serve as the keys to change. Seeing what is missing, seeing what exists that we didn’t see before, seeing an “empty chair” at the table, seeing new landscapes of possibility, and seeing more clearly the essence of what we desire. All these are crucial to effectively changing, adapting, and innovating — to develop “the new” and the innovative for users and for ourselves.