Video Summary: Our approach to innovation is dead wrong | Diana Kander TEDxKC

Alex Williams
5 Min Read
  1. Diana practiced Taekwondo for years but faced an unexpected situation

  2. As an analytical person she tried to find out what went wrong

    Diana realized that her training wasn’t preparing her for real life fights, but was preparing her to score points. During training, she used to play against young girls and punches in the face weren’t allowed. She realized that those rules were very different from the rules of a real fight.

  3. Diana said that this is analogous to business classes

    Diana said that many business classes don’t really prepare people to face the real world. She cited a study where the number of business classes were increasing over the years, but the number of successful businesses were decreasing.

  4. Diana said that business courses teach systematic thinking that doesn’t work in real life

    Diana said that most of these courses teach people the same exact steps. To find a great idea, to write a business plan, to get funding from family and friends then wait for sales to come. She then mentioned Mike Tyson’s quote ‘Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the face’.

  5. Diana said that MBA’s always do worse than others in the marshmallow challenge

    Diana said that MBA’s always perform much worse than others on the famous marshmallow challenge where people are expected to built a structure out of sticks of spaghetti and a yard tape then place a piece of marshmallow on top without the structure falling.

  6. Diana said that the MBA people manage their time incorrectly

    Diana said that MBA’s take 30% of the time to plan the structure, 60% of the time to build it and only 10 percent to do the most important step, which is deploying the marshmallow. She said that they don’t give themselves any time to change their plans if anything went wrong.

  7. Diana said kindergartners used a better strategy

    Diana said that kindergartners went directly to experimenting by building a small structure than placing the marshmallow on top immediately. Then they try another taller structure and see if it will work. She said that kindergartners try 5 different structures before MBA’s complete their first one.

  8. Diana’s takeaway: The longer you work on the plan the more likely you are to fail

    Diana said that the kindergartners always outperformed MBA’s simply because they didn’t waste their time planning. They just started interacting directly with the problem. And because problems can’t be solved from the first attempt, kindergartners always had a bigger chance to succeed. (See Video Summary: Overcoming Hopelessness by Nick Vujicic l TEDx Novi Sad)

  9. Diana talked about a failure she experienced

    Diana then talked about a software project she started with a very big vision, but failed because of the same reason. She and her team spent a very long time planning for the project, got half a million in funding and executed it perfectly only to discover that people didn’t like the idea.

  10. Diana said that it would be better to teach students how to experiment

    Diana said that she believes that it’s much better to teach students how to interact with the real world and to experiment as fast as they can instead of spending a very long time on planning. (See Video Summary: What explains the rise of humans? By Yuval Noah Harari)

  11. Diana gave her students an exercise to prove her point

    Diana asked her students to distribute five 1-dollar-bills on 5 different people. She asked them to write a plan first then to execute. The results showed that even distributing free money doesn’t work as planned because some people are busy, others are skeptical…etc.

  12. Diana’s conclusion

    Diana said that people must learn to test the market fast to get evidence that their product is going to work. She said that making assumptions about customers is a big mistake, and for a product to succeed, evidence must be collected by direct interaction with customers.

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