In this post you’ll learn the answers for the questions: what is the status quo bias? and why does it matter?
As mentioned in several posts, cognitive biases can be seen as mistakes in judgment/reasoning, that arise from certain rules of thumb that our brains have to shorten the decision-making process. If a lion was just in front of us thousands and thousands of years ago, taking a second or two to decide whether the creature is dangerous or not would mean certain death. So, the small rules of thumb and quick decision-making mechanisms exist for a reason, but sometimes they lead us to mistakes in judgment. One of these of mistakes is known as the status quo bias.
What is the status quo bias?
The status quo bias is in a few words the tendency to prefer things to stay/be the same. We are creatures of habit, and this is the reason why we can sometimes be resistant to change.
Change might sound like an adventure in the voice of politicians, but the truth is that on our day to day lives, it can be scarier than we let it out. The familiar is safe and predictable. Change forces us to learn new things and deal with new and possibly stressful situations.
Why does it matter?
On the business world, ideas are the one thing that probably have the biggest impact on the degree of future success of the business. We’ve seen countless stories of amazing ideas making people with little to no money rich overnight.
Sometimes great ideas are not perceived as Great at the moment. Sometimes their greatness is only “accepted” by the public years/decades after the author first mentions it. One probable reason for that can be the status quo bias. The tendency to love the familiar can cause Great ideas/products to be rejected for the simple fact that they challenge the familiar. When we learn them we “pull back” and become defensive, and the only way we can accept them is by acknowledging that tendency in us.
The big problem however, is that loving the familiar is what comes natural to most of us. So, for products/services/ideas that challenge the status quo there are at least 2 strategies that can help them on being more accepted by the public:
1. Wrapping them with the familiar and the known.
2. Introducing them slowly and giving time to time.
It is all about knowledge and experience;)
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