Any time we are faced with a situation requiring a solution we want to go with the first thing that comes to mind and often it's hard to get past that first thought or impression and consider other options or solutions. Our first idea may not be the best one, but we fixate on it.
This phenomenon is called design fixation, or being being set in our ways, or it could be the result of tunnel vision. And one I often heard in the business world, we've always done it this way. The result is we are blind to alternatives.
One of the biggest factors in design fixation is the desire to copy old ways because they have worked in the past or because we are familiar with the techniques involved. As a result we can easily ignore better solutions or, possibly, nuances that make this particular situation different. Once we get fixated on an idea that we think is best our main concern is proving that it is, indeed, the best solution.
One big problem in the business world is that time is money and so anything that takes research and development or delays production is unacceptable.
Another reason is that mistakes happen and/or things don't work out as expected and when that happens somebody has to take the blame. Nobody wants to have a finger pointed at them and be told it's their fault. The simple solution then is to not take risks, you won’ and be creative.
I've had customers who have insisted that faulty or inferior designs be produced simply because it was their idea and they wanted what they wanted...no arguments. Sometimes no amount of convincing worked.
Sometimes, you don't know how bad your idea is until you put it into practice! Again, if it fails we're back to the same old problem...time and money was wasted and guess who gets the blame. No need to risk that, we think.
Some interesting papers on this phenomenon can be found on the Design Society webpage HERE.
A Step Beyond to Overcome Design Fixation – an MIT paper
11 Ways to Think Outside the Box – an informative article from Life Hack
On the other hand….One of the most popular, enduring and misguided cliches of the last few years has been to “think outside the box.” A Forbes Magazine article.
Doing things “The Old Fashioned Way” No Longer Works
6 Reasons People Won't Change
How To Handle That Person Who Won’t Change
Ten Keys to Handling Unreasonable & Difficult People
Don't Try to Reason with Unreasonable People