Why is it that both complex and simple solutions that have proved to be effective have low rates of adoption? The literature on innovation (i.e., a specific category of solutions) management has provided some clues, identifying barriers of several types: organizational, technological, economic, human behavior and the nature of the innovation. We suggest that one reason is the misalignment between the degrees of complexity i.e., the degree of knowledge embedded, of the problem and its solution. A solution perceived to be too simple for a complex problem falls into the category of what might be called “Columbus' egg”. At the basis of this effect there is the tendency to minimize expected frustration as the difference between the effort made in looking for a solution and the obtained reward. When the solution is too complex for a simple problem, this is the case of the “Engineer's effect”. This effect has its cognitive underpinnings in the tendency to minimize decision-making costs. We discuss and illustrate these phenomena and propose some guidelines for technology developers and product innovation managers, as well as for forecasting solutions adoption.

Columbus' egg and the engineer's effect in forecasting solutions adoption

Leopoldo Trieste
;
Giuseppe Turchetti
2022

Abstract

Why is it that both complex and simple solutions that have proved to be effective have low rates of adoption? The literature on innovation (i.e., a specific category of solutions) management has provided some clues, identifying barriers of several types: organizational, technological, economic, human behavior and the nature of the innovation. We suggest that one reason is the misalignment between the degrees of complexity i.e., the degree of knowledge embedded, of the problem and its solution. A solution perceived to be too simple for a complex problem falls into the category of what might be called “Columbus' egg”. At the basis of this effect there is the tendency to minimize expected frustration as the difference between the effort made in looking for a solution and the obtained reward. When the solution is too complex for a simple problem, this is the case of the “Engineer's effect”. This effect has its cognitive underpinnings in the tendency to minimize decision-making costs. We discuss and illustrate these phenomena and propose some guidelines for technology developers and product innovation managers, as well as for forecasting solutions adoption.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11382/548591
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