Image as a burden: Changing how we change

This Christmas I visited Amsterdam and Malene Dumas’ exhibition at Stedelijk Museum named ‘Image as a burden’. What a title. In our world of imaging, picturing, documenting and producing manifests of what we believe, the opinion of an image as a burden would find less support. Because images say more than a thousand words.

But. Imagine there were no images of Muslim / Jewish or Indian / Pakistan conflicts. That no one kept track of what had happened. How would this impact the ability to change perceptions? As effective images are in maintaining a belief, as dangerous they are in maintaining (dis)beliefs.

To entrepreneurial executives this is particularly relevant because we worry about change. Imaging change is much harder than imaging current state of mind.

The good news: We can change how we change.

There is a faster way than building beliefs and trust. Through the knowledge of persuasive computing, behaviour economics, etc. we know that we don’t need to wait for a change of belief, that we can go straight to changing action.

Next time you plan for a change, consider the image and belief as a burden. Consider building products that allow change to happen as did Coca Cola with this vending machine that brought India and Pakistan closer together.