Inside LaunchStreet Jennifer Riel

How Falling in Love With Others’ Perspectives Propels Innovation

Did you know that you need to spend time with people you don’t agree with? It’s not always easy, but it will help you be more innovative and make better decisions. Jennifer Riel, author of Creating Great Choices, and an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, specializing in creative problem solving, stopped by Inside LaunchStreet to talk about all this. We dig into how to challenge our own thinking with the opposite views of others and why people with different perspectives help us get to more rich and robust ideas. She also shares the key to better decision making, including Integrative Thinking, creating more tension and why seeking to fall in love with other people’s perspectives is the best thing you can do.

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Key Takeaways:

[1:54] You might be surprised to know that Jennifer is a Canadian that has never played hockey. However, she has fallen on her behind many times curling.

[2:57] Jennifer finds meaningful value in spending time with people that see the world differently than you. You mind forms incomplete models. The only way you have a hope of challenging your thinking and improving your model is by talking to people that don’t see what you see. It’s a valuable way to learn and make your own thinking richer and more robust.

[5:04] Jennifer shares a personal story about teaching a group of healthcare leaders that resulted in opposite views regarding vaccines.

[8:10] Why is it hard for us to internalize opposing, provocative, differing views?

[10:19] Learn the keys to better decision making and get introduced to the term ‘integrative thinking,’ Learn how to create great choices rather than to choose between existing options.

[12:13] How do you know when the solutions on the table are the right options? How can your emotional reaction propel you to continue to seek other options? Tamara reminds LaunchStreet listeners that if you feel like you’re compromising or settling, that’s when you keep seeking.

[14:21] Start looking at other options by diving into the most opposing of the choices in front of you. Then, seek to fall in love with the options. Ask yourself, what would be truly great with each of the options? Look at decentralization and then centralization. The more tension you can produce, the greater insight you will receive.

[17:21] Jennifer believes that many times we limit our emotional selves in business. Falling in love with the model means that you go beyond finding the good in the model. Tamara teaches that ‘leaving emotions at the door’ works against us. Humans add value through emotion and innovation.

[20:51] When we fall in love, we get to see why it’s valuable and the benefits the model provides. Tamara challenges listeners to complete an exercise and unpack the ‘what.’

[22:42] Are best practices always best?

[25:49] Tamara questions if we focus on best practices because it gives us an anchor to start with. Jennifer breaks best practices into two categories: heuristic and algorithmic. You need to loosen things up a bit to embrace the intention.

[29:01] Jennifer shares some surprises she experienced while about writing her book, Creating Great Choices: A Leaders Guide to Integrative Thinking, by Jennifer Riel and Roger L. Martin.

[31:11] How do you get the people at the table to get on board? Jennifer thinks it’s powerful to demonstrate your own willingness to question your own model first. If we are genuinely curious fairly consistently, cognitive bias starts to work for us.

[34:35] Connect with Jennifer at,, and on Twitter

[34:59] Jennifer shares why it is important to focus on great choices. Listen in as Jennifer defines strategy. Jennifer challenges listeners to think about how you define your job in regards to choices. Do you see yourself as one who is able to take the raw materials the world gives you and create innovative ideas?

[36:00] Tamara has learned that creative conflict is essential yet it can go bad fast. You need to set the stage in a way that avoids the traps. Go to Innovation on Demand to learn how to create constructive criticism.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Creating Great Choices: A Leaders Guide to Integrative Thinking, by Jennifer Riel and Roger L. Martin

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,
by Jonathan Haidt

Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Dont, by Jim Collins

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