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and passionate about ideas is not a bad thing. However, we need to be aware of its side effects. Being overly vested can make us blind and lead us onto a dangerous path.


What’s the Antidote to This? Take the Next Step The first and most important step


is awareness. Know that confirmation bias is real, and notice when you start to love an idea. Secondly, we have to get better at


killing ideas. As in the story with the emperor who wore no clothes, we have to get better at calling the emperor naked. We have to get better at being questioning without being destructive. Many tech organizations have


“red teams.” They have the purpose of challenging ideas or points of view with the goals of improving something.


Even though it’s an established phrase, I don’t like the term “devil’s


When you have an idea, make


yourself aware of your bias. Then find a person who’s not a friend of the idea (or of you). Talk to them, get their reaction, and see how your idea holds up. Both at work and in your life, find


people who are your unofficial “red team” – people who have opposing styles, views, and beliefs from you. Being with people from your red team can be tough because you’ll need to let go of your ego and your desire to be right. As you learn to do this, they will be one of your best guides to making better decisions and improving your leadership.


advocate.” It suggests malevolence. The purpose of a “red team” is ultimately to improve and make something better, and not to tear it down. But you get the picture: you need to find a way to be critical to become better.


About the Author


A scientist turned businessman, Josef Martens applies cutting-edge (and relatable!) insights from sciences to spark innovation and creativity, key advantages in a changing global economy. Top technology companies such as DaimlerChrysler, Merck and Siemens have sought Josef’s expertise and also Government agencies such as NASA, the Department of Defense and various intelligence agencies.


Josef’s credibility on innovation is unrivaled — he himself is an innovator. During his doctoral studies in physics at Cambridge and his post-doctoral research at the world- renown Cavendish Laboratory, his groundbreaking work led to multiple U.S., European and International patents.


Josef is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the highest-earned international designation by the National Speakers Association.


November 2019 ❘ 27 ®


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