The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas

The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas

The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas

The Human Element: Overcoming the Resistance That Awaits New Ideas


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Wall Street Journal bestseller

Watch your most innovative ideas take flight by overcoming the forces that resist change

The Human Element is for anyone who wants to introduce a new idea or innovation into the world. Most marketers, innovators, executives, activists, or anyone else in the business of creating change, operate on a deep assumption. It is the belief that the best (and perhaps only) way to convince people to embrace a new idea is to heighten the appeal of the idea itself. We instinctively believe that if we add enough value, people will eventually say "yes." This reflex leads us down a path of adding features and benefits to our ideas or increasing the sizzle of our messaging - all in the hope of getting others on board. We call this instinct the "Fuel-based mindset." The Fuel-based mindset explains so much of what we do, from adding countless trivial features to software, to bolting a sixth blade onto a shaving razor.

By focusing on Fuel, innovators neglect the other half of the equation – the psychological Frictions that oppose change. Frictions create drag on innovation. And though they are rarely considered, overcoming these Frictions is essential for bringing new ideas into the world. The Human Element highlights the four Frictions that operate against innovation. Readers will discover:

  • Why their best ideas and initiatives often get rejected – despite their undeniable value
  • How to disarm the forces of resistance that act against change
  • How to transform the very Frictions that hold us back into catalysts for change

Perfect for business leaders, product managers, educators, and anyone else who seeks to bring new and exciting ideas to life, The Human Element is an indispensable resource to help people overcome the powerful forces of human nature that instinctively resist change.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119765042
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 10/05/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 125,311
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

DAVID SCHONTHAL is an award-winning Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Outside of academia, David’s work in the fields of design, innovation consulting and venture capital have led to the creation and launch of over 200 new products and services around the world.

LORAN NORDGREN, PhD, is a Kellogg Professor of Management. His research and teaching explores the psychological forces that propel and prevent the adoption of new ideas. Loran has received numerous awards for research and teaching, and has worked with companies throughout the world on a wide-range of behavior change problems, a process he calls behavioral design.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Law of Attraction
The battle between Friction and Fuel

Chapter 2: Thinking in Fuel
The reasons a Fuel-based mindset rules the world

Chapter 3: Inertia
Why we stick with what we know

Chapter 4: Overcoming Inertia
How to transform a novel idea into a familiar friend

Chapter 5: Effort
Why we follow the path of least resistance

Chapter 6: Overcoming Effort
How to build aerodynamic ideas

Chapter 7: Emotion
Why the best ideas produce the most anxiety

Chapter 8: Overcoming Emotion
How to quiet the fears that impede progress

Chapter 9: Reactance
Why we feel the impulse to resist change

Chapter 10: Overcoming Reactance
How to help your audience persuade themselves

Chapter 11: Three Case Studies

End Notes


About the Authors


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"An engrossing read on what it takes to open other people's minds. A leading psychologist and a crackerjack entrepreneur team up to demystify the science and practice of convincing people to let go of the status quo. If you've ever been frustrated by people rejecting an innovative idea or refusing a constructive change, this book might just be what you need."
Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

"The Human Element pulls back the curtain on the psychological forces that stop people from embracing new ideas and adopting new products. Whether you're a creator looking to execute or an executive looking to create, this book is a timely read."
Daniel H. Pink,
Author of When, Drive, and To Sell Is Human

"Why is it that customers looking at new products or services that would dramatically change their lives or business for the better find it so hard to embrace and adopt them? The Human Element cracks the code. It describes the four forces that act against innovation and provides entrepreneurs the insights and tools on how to overcome them. This book is essential reading for any entrepreneur or innovator looking to accelerate adoption of disruptive innovation."
Steve Blank, Eight-time entrepreneur-turned-educator and originator of the Lean Startup movement

"Too often marketers rely on features, benefits and promotion as the way to get customers to adopt a new product or service. But as it turns out, this is only half of the marketing formula. The Human Element makes a critical contribution to the world of marketing by identifying the four primary Frictions that inhibit consumers' desires to adopt new offers. This book shows readers not only how to forecast these Frictions, but more importantly, how to overcome them. The Human Element is a must read for anyone attempting to launch something new."
Philip Kotler, "The Father of Modern Marketing", Author of over 80 books and Professor Emeritus at the Kellogg School of Management

"Adoption of your products and services is key to innovation success. Let this book be your guide."
Alex Osterwalder, Innovation Thought Leader, Best-selling author of Business Model Generation and originator of the Business Model Canvas

"What invisible forces slow or stall even our best innovation efforts? Schonthal and Nordgren identify four "Frictions" that get in the way, and then tell us how to overcome them. The Human Element is full of insights for designers, innovators, and executives alike."
Tom Kelley, 3-time, Best-selling author of the Ten Faces of Innovation, The Art of Innovation and Creative Confidence

"Thank heavens for friction—it makes driving possible. But when traveling on the innovation superhighway, friction is stifling. In The Human Element, Nordgren and Schonthal argue that although a bigger engine can promote creativity, friction-reduction is the secret ingredient. This beautiful, elegant book is the essential tour guide for those of us seeking to develop creative and influential ideas."
Eli Finkel, Best-selling author of the All or Nothing Marriage and Professor at Northwesten University

"Innovation often connotes cutting-edge, advanced, or feature-rich. In this book, however Schonthal and Nordgren make the case that, after all is said and done, innovation is simply about helping people. The authors provide paradigm shifting frameworks that will help managers and entrepreneurs improve their odds of success."
--Efosa Ojomo, Author of The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty and leader of the Global Prosperity research group at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation

"There's always something standing between ourselves and innovation: an overwhelming and very human resistance to change. The insights Loran Nordgren and David Schonthal surface are important reminders of the care and attention designers need to bring a new idea to life and to build our shared future."
Sandy Speicher, CEO of IDEO

"A revolutionary approach to bringing new ideas to life. Insightful and engaging, this is a must read for anyone who want to successfully launch a project, a product or an idea."
Francesca Gino, Award-winning Harvard Business School professor, innovation expert, and author of Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and Life

"The ability to elegantly overcome Friction is one of the most crucial skills an innovator can possess. The problem is, most don't know how to do it! The Human Element finally reveals why we're all wired to resist new ideas, and provides intuitive tools and methods to insure that even the most cutting-edge innovations are enthusiastically received."
Bob Moesta, Author, educator, and originator of the "Jobs-To-Be-Done" approach to innovation and marketing

"Nordgren and Schonthal offer a revolutionary and profound approach to getting new ideas embraced: Don't follow the conventional path of intensifying your persuasion; instead focus on reducing the friction that fuels resistance. The ideas are eye-opening and the writing is eye-pleasing, elegantly combining fascinating examples with scientific insights. The writing itself personifies the very message of The Human Element: it is all fuel, no friction."
Adam Galinsky, Professor at Columbia Business School, co-author of the best-selling book, Friend & Foe, and a popular TED speaker

"Friction Theory is a powerful framework for understanding user behavior. A must read for every product designer."
Andy MacMillan, Founder and CEO of UserTesting

"Contrary to popular belief, innovations rarely succeed because they are chalk-full of features. This book makes a strong case for forever dispelling this view in favor of a laser-like focus on knocking down the barriers that keep customers from beating a pathway to your door. If you want a new way of thinking about these sources of friction—and more importantly, what to do when you encounter them—you should read this book. It will give you a valuable recipe for how to design and introduce innovations that are a good bet for success in the marketplace."
Christine Mooreman, T. Austin Finch Sr. Professor of Business Administration, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Marketing

"The Human Element underscores the crucial role that empathy plays in innovation and change. It's not enough to talk about it, one must internalize it in order to have the impact they desire. David and Loran will show you how."
Maelle Gavet, Best-selling author of Trampled by Unicorns and CEO of TechStars

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