How innovators can overcome the Dunning-Kruger Effect




Honest and transparent self-assessment is the key to creating value for any innovator. However, self-bias often creeps in, preventing the ability to identify genuine opportunities; it's what scientists call the Dunning-Kruger effect. Without the knowledge of a need for correction, improvement is unlikely to follow.


Mark Murphy suggests a simple solution for individuals suffering under the defined bias. In his article "The Dunning-Kruger Effect Shows Why Some People Think They're Great Even When Their Work Is Terrible", Murphy suggests that the answer lies in visualization and feedback mechanism that removes the bias.


Typically, these mechanisms rely on senior leadership to provide feedback, but these hierarchical means isn't the only good feedback loop for innovators. Innovators can use:

  • Hypothesis based testing and validation cycles that provide reliable, data-based feedback to verify theories;

  • Open innovation groups that welcome debate and challenge assumptions or;

  • Innovation collages gather individuals attempting to solve similar problems.


The Dunning-Kruger effect indicates that all innovators possess, on some level, self-bias that can distort performance evaluation and delivery. Checks and balances are welcomed insurance for all innovators against that personal threat.


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