Companies that don’t move forward tend to fall behind. Find out how a functional fixedness pattern of thinking could be blocking your company’s innovation while your competitors move ahead.
You’re familiar with your business and the tools your industry uses. The same is probably true for your employees. This familiarity allows work to be done quickly and accurately. The problem is that working within standard expectations and familiar techniques can limit the opportunities to find new and better ways to operate. That’s where functional fixedness may be to blame for holding your company back.
What Does Functional Fixedness Mean?
The term functional fixedness refers to a bias that causes a person to think of an object or service in terms of how it is traditionally used. That means this cognitive bias might prevent someone from seeing how a particular product or service might be used in a new or different way. That can limit the person’s perceived options and cause them to miss out on opportunities and better ways of performing tasks.
Functional fixedness can be an important issue for businesses since many of them rely on innovation to become successful and remain competitive. Innovation is built on the ability to view things in a more open-minded way that allows for the mental leaps bring about new and better ideas. Functional fixedness can prevent those innovative leaps or result in employees with innovative ideas not receiving the support they need to put their innovations into use.
Is Functional Fixedness Holding You Back?
Business success may be based on big innovations or success may be due to taking small steps in the best way. Finding simple ways to have an edge on the competition or reduce costs can form the incremental gains than keeps companies moving ahead of their competition. This why it is so important to make sure your employees are always working to be open to new or different options.
Taking Your I.T. Beyond the Obvious
Because I.T. and telecommunications technologies are constantly changing, these are often the areas that provide the best opportunities for innovations and cost savings. Functional fixedness can be a serious issue with regards to I.T. and telecommunications, in particular, because the potential for companies falling behind is so great.
Most people are now comfortable with cloud computing. However, they generally only see it as a way to back up files. Perhaps they have used it to store images from their personal smartphone or back up their home computers. This means they understand how the cloud can be used in that way but possibly not in others. For example, cloud services can be a good way to share files with coworkers stationed across the country who don’t have access to the same local server. It can also be an option for people who want to give presentations or share information with clients located elsewhere.
The bigger picture your company might be missing is how cloud computing could replace your company’s current servers or save your company from the need to expand its existing server space. In addition, cloud storage systems can make it easier for employees to work remotely. This could allow your company to offer telecommuting as a way to attract new employees or incentivize current workers.
Using cloud storage instead of expanding in-house servers can save not just the cost of the servers but also the maintenance and office space those servers would require. Alternatively, using cloud systems to back up company servers can provide extra security for important company files and greatly reduce the risk of a catastrophic data loss in the event of a fire.
Because cloud storage can be securely accessed from other locations, it can enable companies to more quickly resume business after a natural disaster, making it a key part of any emergency preparedness plan.
Smartphones replaced regular cellphones, which had previously replaced the use of landline phones. While smartphones offer far greater functionality than their predecessors, businesses often use them primarily as simply portable phones. It is important to look for ways their added features could be used to improve your business.
Perhaps your company would benefit from additional documentation of worksites, problems, accidents, or clients. A change in your company’s operating routines could encourage employees to capture these images and automatically upload them to your company’s cloud for use by coworkers.
Imagine how much easier work might be for your employees if they showed up at a client’s location prepared with photographs as well as diagrams of the site. That could speed deliveries to the correct service entrance or allow an employee to identify the key client contact on sight. Photographs taken prior to the start of a construction project so that it could be restored properly after work has been completed.
Scanner apps can allow smartphones to update warehouse inventory or document shipments. Having the right information at employee fingertips can enable them to assist customers better wherever they are in the store by locating items or checking inventory.
Tablets and other mobile devices might be another way to conveniently speed the work of your employees or make their work easier. The ability to show clients plans on a tablet and zoom in to specifications could make business meetings go more smoothly and improve the odds of acquiring new customers.
Phones are more than phone calls. When evaluating office telecommunication systems, people tend to focus on the cost and basic features like voice mail. This type of functional fixedness bias might mean you’re missing other features and applications of your phones that could have added benefits.
Looking at your company’s business and the types of work individuals perform can allow a telecommunications system to be designed to make the most of your workforce while improving customer service. That could mean advanced phone systems to route calls better so there are shorter waits for your customers. Phone features could make it easier for supervisors to work around staff vacations or manage work after hours.
The right phone system could allow employees to hold phone conference meetings rather than spend valuable work hours commuting to a conference room in order to meet together in person. This technology could even be used by the company’s senior management as a way to reach out to employees and improve morale or provide them with valuable and timely market information.
How to Escape Functional Fixedness
Your company doesn’t have to be limited by the collective biases of its employees or management team. JMARK has experts who can look beyond how your company has always done work to see new possibilities. Rather than change for the sake of change, JMARK can identify strategic ways your company could improve to take advantage of the opportunities technology and our services can provide.
At JMARK, we know technology thoroughly, and we pair that with extensive experience working with clients in a broad range of industries. That enables us to evaluate business practices to build innovative solutions designed specifically for your company, not a one-size-fits-all approach.
This approach allows your company is to compile the best combination of technologies and services and make the most of the technology and systems you already have. Your company ends up with better solutions without paying for things you don’t need. Contact JMARK today for a consultation so we can discuss ways JMARK can help your business be its best. Call 844-44-JMARK or email [email protected].