INNOVATION: Change your internal chip

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Einstein

Yesterday I was with a client proposing some new initiatives and as always there’s a bottleneck to new ideas. Someone’s ego prevents them from seeing other alternatives to how things can be done, they’re so set in their traditional views that anything new is irrelevant. In thinking about this fact with some of the people there I said: Like computer chips that evolve and get better all the time, so must we.


Do you remember how in the movie Terminator 2 Sarah and John Connor so it can can learn and stop following preset rules? Well that’s exactly what we have to do with ourselves, and people who are impervious to ‘there’s always a better way’ speak.

change the chip

‘There’s a better way’ chip

Honestly, I think most people are just afraid of improving their lives and find it hard accepting that changing their ‘internal chip’ (mental model) sounds like black magic. But, the magic is not the chip, it’s in letting go of their ego. First you have to understand that we’ve all been programmed to think how we think, our past experiences determine our beliefs. Therefore, how we see and think about everything around us. We bring with us assumptions that limit us from seeing other alternatives that might lead to a better opportunity, but then again you already knew this.

The truth is everything we believe to be real is in our heads, it’s in that thing we call brain. That ‘organic chip’ that helps us make ‘safe’ decisions is sometimes best to throw away and use another one.

This sounds crazy and it doesn’t require surgery, it requires a willingness to adopt other people’s mental models.

So how do you ‘change your chip’?

Here are few things I think you can do:

  • Borrow someone else’s chip. Hang around people with a different set of chips than yours and see how you can use some of their abilities for your own advantage.
  • Make your own chip. If you could put together abilities you’d like to have from other people which would they be? For example, combine the abilities of Steve Jobs + Picasso + Leonardo Da Vinci and what would you have? How do you integrate them into your thinking?
  • Improve your chip. Hack yourself and see where there are holes that you can improve on. Like computer chips that evolve and get better all the time, so must we. There is no governing rule like Moore’s Law that limits our own thinking!

Changing minds, hearts, and behaviors is key to innovating and a mind full of differing perspectives is better than one with just one perspective. Tomorrow I’ll share with you a mind trick I use to be able to shift my thinking from my own egotistical perspective.

The important takeaway is we don’t have to wait another 50 years to have implanted chips in our heads that help us think better, we can start right now. In fact, why would we even want to be plugged into a computer telling us what to do, it’s better to think for ourselves.

What do you think, in what other ways can you become an innovative thinker? how do you improve your own thinking?

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