Shifting perspectives, for example, by living and working abroad, has been heralded as a fruitful way of generating creative ideas. Even shifting perspectives by taking another person’s perspective has been suggested to have this effect. However, in this research stream, a new theory is developed and tested, which argues that perspective-taking or putting oneself into another’s shoes and seeing the world from that person’s point of view actually stifles original idea generation in individuals and in team settings.
Organizations are increasingly putting a focus on “inventing something on behalf of a customer” (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos). One intuitive way of doing so might be to take the customer’s perspective in order to gauge what the customer is willing to buy. However, this research project demonstrates that this intuition might be flawed and thus backfire because taking the customer’s perspective might actually reduce the originality of the product ideas generated for the customer, which is a problem because originality is the defining feature of an invention.