Viewpoints: challenge entrenched thinking

Jessica Bourn
Jessica Bourn
Contact Jessica Bourn

‘Groupthink’ is a collective cognitive bias that causes flawed decision-making within organisations. The desire to maintain a cohesive team discourages individuals from challenging consensus, even when the matter is business-critical or safety-critical.

The groupthink problem can be exacerbated by confirmation bias in individuals at senior management level. C-suite executives may unconsciously favour information that validates their thinking, and dismiss that which contradicts it.

Combined, these factors create a silo effect. The organisation, insulated from checks and balances, forges ahead with defective strategies until the consequences eventually catch up.  

Gaining outside-in perspective

These issues cannot be addressed simply by looking outward from within your organisation. A genuinely impartial view requires input from the outside. However, this comes with challenges of its own:

  • Who to approach? The insight of your industry peers may be framed similarly to yours. That in itself is not necessarily a bad thing – but to obtain a diverse perspective, you must go beyond the familiar names and faces. Identifying suitably knowledgeable contributors in unfamiliar territory is a daunting task.    

  • How to resource it? Finding the right experts comes with a high research burden, especially when seeking contacts outside your existing network. Even if you do identify a scientist or academic of interest, getting them on a call can take persistence and luck.

Dive deeper for evidence

Outsmart Insights’ Technology ViewpointsDeep Dive service can help generate the evidence you need to make confident business-critical decisions. We have developed a system for brokering knowledge from some of the world’s most successful organisations, exciting startups, and respected academic institutions. Based on your unique specification and requirements, we:

  • Mobilise a team of researchers, hand-picked from our global network of scientists and academics based on their domain expertise.

  • Compile a shortlist of leading science and technology experts working in your field of interest, and qualify them for fit.

  • Approach and interview a selection of the experts to gain their insight.

  • Extract the most salient information and write up the interviews in an attractive, intuitive format.           

The output can be applied within your organisation to aid benchmarking, roadmapping, and executive-level decision-making. 

Case study: Future Combat Air System (FCAS)

As a manufacturer of high-value assets with long lifecycles, defence contractor BAE Systems needs to make design choices that stand the test of time.

The company was a key player in FCAS; a strategic multi-billion-pound defence programme to develop the next generation of unmanned military aircraft. BAE needed quantitative forecasts on a variety of potential technology disruptors, ranging from propulsion, to navigation, to onboard AI. 

We assembled multiple specialist teams, totalling over 100 scientists and engineers, to plot the evolution of existing and emerging technologies over the coming decades. The teams analysed the technologies’ trajectories and projected their future performance, translating it into applicable use cases and implications for the business.

The project spawned partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in the supply chain to accelerate new technology advances.

You can read the report here.

Viewpoints for your organisation

How are other companies leveraging a new technology? Are you alone in the challenges you are facing? How does your innovation compare to that of your peers?  

A Viewpoint provides a window into similar organisations, adjacent industries, advocates, or even critics. Get in touch to learn how we can help your team broaden its worldview.