The main reason your team is not creative and collaborative: it’s in their brains

busting cognitive bias with disrupt design


Cognitive biases are like contagious brain glitches that affect every human on the planet. Neuro and social sciences have identified and named hundreds of different biases that are socially transferred and replicated. They inhibit our ability to think and behave rationally, and they cloud our better judgment.

Common tendency of filtering input through one’s own likes, dislikes, and experiences to acquire, retain, and process information. Refer also to confirmation bias.
— Law Dictionary, Definition of COGNITIVE BIAS: Black's Law Dictionary

Cognitive biases that impact all of us daily include:

  • Confirmation bias, where we filter information to see only what confirms what we already believe
  • Loss aversion, where we avoid the cognitive pain of losing something
  • Hindsight bias, where we think we knew something was going to happen all along only after the event has happened
  • Anchoring effect, where are brains are anchored to the most recent piece of information that shift our perspectives of it
  • Status quo bias, where we try to maintain the status quo
  • Choice paralysis, where too many options make it hard for us to make a decision

There are literally hundreds more. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely has fantastic free resources to discover more of them.



Image by Business Insider


Marketers and technology companies have capitalized on these biases, playing with the influences that subtly direct our behaviors. They guide everything from our purchasing decisions through to how we respect others.  

But, there is a big issue here – implicit biases. These are the biases that are buried deep within our subconscious decision-making part of the brain. They subtly influence how we see, respect, and work with others. Implicit biases are causing major issues within organizations because they breed stereotypes and can inhibit fair, equity-based workplaces.

unconscious bias

When it comes to effective, collaborative, and respectful workplaces, all humans need ways of categorizing in order to make sense of the world. Yet, these give way to prejudice (which literally means pre-judgment) and forming boxed opinions of people based on social markers of race, gender, and socio-economic status.

When we pre-judge other people, we restrict their ability to out-perform our limited expectations of them. As a manager, this often means you limit people's development based on limited expectations, usually based on judgments that you are not even aware of. As a co-worker, this can mean you unintentionally offend your colleague by saying something that seems reasonable to you but is not to them. 

Understanding the language around biases, how they work, and ways of completely recoding them is one of the most valuable and under-used business tools today.  

In order for an organization to respectfully hire, manage, and retain workers, they need to foster a culture of bias busting and respectful acceptance. This means the organization must activate equitable access and provide training that goes beyond a video. Simply learning about biases does not always help you unravel the complex brain glitches that build up and lock down over time. There are ways to override bias, but first one must understand how the brain codes the world and forms bias to begin with. 

Our method for rapidly overcoming biases and building equity within organizations is based on extensive research. We have spent thousands of hours testing and evolving creative ways of empowering and motivating teams to see through the stereotypes and biases that impede their creativity, collaborative spirit, and productivity.

The Productivity Hack Your Organization Needs: Shifting Mindsets



In order to maximize productivity in a positive and regenerative way, we need to shift mindsets from a mechanical worldview to one of dynamic, creative, interconnected systems worldviews.

 We need to apply our past knowledge of the evolution of the natural sciences to our organization and production processes and systems of today.


Creativity pioneer Edward de Bono argues that possibility is what makes a beautiful creative mind. In his work, he illustrates how the mind uses experiences to map and pattern thoughts.

It shows significant insights into the way humans can bust through linear thinking into lateral, divergent, and disruptive thinking modes.

For de Bono, creativity stems from being open to provocation. Stagnation of ideas come through the repetition of the same experiences and thus comfort is a killer of creativity.

How often does your organization seek out provocative new experiences that challenges the status quo so that your creativity can be enhanced through positive challenges? 


Systems thinking, with all its different offshoots and branches, evolved to help humans understand how to be more effective and creative as communities, as collaborators with nature, and as contributors to the future.

Knowledge, meaning, and purpose are understood through the building up of ‘whole pictures’ of phenomena rather than the breaking down of things into parts.

systems thinking and mapping


By adopting a creative systems worldview, we shift our mindsets to look for interrelationships within and between systems.

When looking to increase efficiency, productivity, and creativity, organizations need to think about the untapped knowledge that exists in the deeper worldviews that people hold.

This helps overcome natural cognitive biases and unlock the creative potential of their human resources.

This will help us learn how to build regenerative businesses that give back, rather than take away from the planet.