Not Just Smoke in Mirrors

We are all aware that humans are very vain and love their reflections, but I would have never thought that mirrors could be a tool to shorten the feeling of time. Throughout this s, I would like to describe creative problem-solving and using psychological factors.


The benefit of using psychological versus logical is in the bigger array of problem-solving that it leads to. My High-Performance Innovation Professor, Dr. Alessandro Lanteri, gave us an example; he showed us a picture of old elevators and asked us what we would do to improve people’s satisfaction with elevators back in the day. We had four options:

  1. Make the elevator faster
  2. Make the elevator larger
  3. All of the above
  4. None of the above

I chose to make the elevator faster, but my error was in believing that this was a logical solution. When the engineers & designers tackled this problem, they were told to make the ride more enjoyable, and instead of going through the rational perspective, they’d want the psychological perspective.

As soon as they changed their perspective on the problem, solutions started. Why do they think it’s too slow? How can we deflect their attention? How may the comfort be increased? Do the customers have a fear of heights?

This sparked some direct consumer research. They observed that many passengers assumed the elevators were moving far more slowly than they actually were.

Personal Reflection:

The impact it’s had on me was opening my eyes. It made me realize that there’s not just one simple solution most of the time. But many creative out-of-the-box solutions may be more cost-effective and have long-term benefits. It made me think about how customers were tired of waiting for their suitcases at an airport after the airplane arrived. So instead of making their wait time shorter for passengers, they made their journey to the luggage carousel longer, and therefore the customers felt like they experienced less wait time even though the time was the same.

I want to incorporate this into my life by asking myself what other solutions are there and what different psychological nuances we can use. And ask: who are the right people we can ask? How can this be done differently? What are different perspectives to look at this from? How would a fly look at this? How would a child look at this? In addition to finding people who are twice removed to look and question the problem from the outside. These are all different types of design thinking that aim to bring a different perspective.



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