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11.1.2. Challenging: Assumption Busting


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 11. Stimulating Ideas > 11.1. Challenging > 11.1.2. Challenging: Assumption Busting

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Chapter 9 described how we make constant assumptions through the mental models we use to manage the complexity of the world around us. Assumption-Busting simply means to perceive those presuppositions and challenge them. Although this may sound simple, it can be rather difficult, as many of our assumptions are so embedded in the way we live our lives, we tend to over look them.

For example, many of us assume that the way to eat pasta is to buy it dried and then cook it. But this assumption was spotted and challenged, with the result that it turned into a mega-money-spinning business selling fresh pasta through supermarkets.

You can challenge assumptions about boundaries (e.g. ‘This is for engineers only’), what customers will put up with (e.g. soap getting messy), possibilities and assertions (e.g. ‘You can’t do that’) and any other aspect of the problem. You can also challenge more fundamental assumptions such as our beliefs (‘We all have a right to free education’) and values (‘We must look after our customers’).

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