Department of Informatics

Ignorance Reveals Itself as an Underestimated Asset

Creative inexperience

There is no doubt that information is a blessing.The more we know, the more information we have about the market, the competition, about our own field, the better.Access to a virtually unlimited amount of possibly valuable information is one of the essential success factors of the Internet with its search engines. So, information is very positive. But there is an intriguing psychological implication: Once we have been exposed to a particular piece of information, our thinking is changed permanently whether we like it or not.We can no longer get rid of that information. Similarly, experiences that we have made cannot be “undone.”Thus, if we want to develop really novel and original ideas, it may at times be advantageous to have less information: Our ideas will be more independent and potentially more creative. So while the global availability of information is certainly a boon, it may in fact have a pernicious influence on innovation.

Implication

If the goal is real innovation, it is sometimes counterproductive to know what everybody else is doing.Truly novel ideas often come from people without experience in a particular field.

Rolf Pfeifer

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