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VIDEO: Perceptions Override Reality?

We very often jump to conclusions because of certain image or perception we have in mind. I’d like to share with you a time when I was proven wrong and how this experience has made me examine my way of thinking.

We all have experiences when ours perceptions override reality. How do you deal with this and what are the impacts on your team or organization?

SAP encourages employees to get involved in community and business initiatives to enrich their personal perspectives, learn more about the diversity-related events and education SAP offers here.

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      • No problem Grace! (But, I thought Jan Grasshoff was the one who posted the video 🙂 )

        I can't really recall any particular incident from my past experience but in general, I have observed that people's dependence on their perceptions is a bit too much. Probably that helps them avoid risks in life and take decisions faster but I think that also restricts innovation. In addition, one's perception may be faulty since it's often based on limited understanding or knowledge of the thing/person being perceived.

        • Hi Kumar - Jan did post this video himself, and I was trying to be a community manager thanking people for watching. 🙂

          Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't agree more about what you're saying here and I think Jan's story also illustrated your point. When our thinking and decision-making are entirely based on our perceptions, we won't be aware or be open to other possibilities or knowledge that we may not have.

          How do you encourage innovation and inclusion in the workplace, besides being open to other ideas and perspectives?

          • Ok 🙂 , thanks for telling. I wasn't complaining by the way, just curious.

            To your question, I think first and foremost, the organization should make it known to the employees how much it values innovation and inclusion. There may be various ways to do that - for e.g. by organizing innovation challenges, recognizing employees who are on the path, holding discussions and talks on the topic, having trainings to sensitize people about others' opinions and ideas. Once the  message has been sent out clearly and boldly to the employees, they would be willing to indulge!

            I think the biggest hurdle in the path of innovation is the challenge of time. In times where we expect all things to happen at the click of a button, we've become a bit too impatient. I am not advocating spending more time than what's required but I am advocating making time for thinking about how something could be done in a better way.

          • Of course Kumar! I didn't think you were complaining at all, it was a very valid (and funny) question 🙂

            I really like your idea of offering trainings around open-mindedness in the workplace, I think all employees and organizations will really benefit from having this type of culture. Are you aware of any trainings around this currently, both at SAP and beyond?

            I cannot agree more on the time crunch challenge when it comes to innovation. What's more is that sometimes we're so used to doing something in a certain way that we just assume it is the most effective and the "right" solution and don't look further for other ideas. How do you think people can get themselves out of that mindset so they can think of other possibilities and more innovative solutions?

          • I underwent an 'Intercultural Skills' training when I joined SAP. Although that was not purely focused on innovation and openness towards that, it did, in a way, familiarize and sensitize the audience towards intercultural differences. More recently, I also underwent a training on Design Thinking which did focus on innovative thinking. But, I am not aware of a training that purely focuses on open-mindedness at the workplace.

            To your other question, I think it depends on several factors. For one and as I said earlier, it's important for the organization to establish the importance it gives to innovation. Secondly, it also depends a lot on how education has shaped an individual's thinking. Education in schools and colleges, right from childhood, should encourage free thinking rather than giving out instructions all the time. When creative or innovative thinking becomes a part of one's nature, you cannot prevent innovation from happening!

          • I fully agree that education in schools should encourage innovation and creative thinking. I did not realize how much creativity I "lost" during my university years until I joined my current team at SAP.

            For me personally, while university has taught me to think critically, it has unfortunately structured my thinking in a very logical way that my mind sometimes automatically blocks or shuts down ideas that I think are "stupid" or "impossible." Besides design thinking, what other ways do you think can encourage innovative thinking?

          • I happened to come across a magazine article focused on how to build a culture of innovation. You can view the same at

            Just to mention a couple of interesting points from the article:

            It mentions about keeping a 'challenge book' where a business lists its key problems. Then, with regards to building participation, it emphasizes things like separating brainstorming sessions from idea evaluation.