In the movie “Inception”, mind-game mercenaries enter other people’s psyches through their dreams with the aid of a briefcase-sized brain-linking device (wish I had one of them at work). Sometimes these agents go in to get information, other times to get the subject to behave in a certain way when they awake.
It’s the second purpose that intrigues me. The dream invaders can’t just tell the subject to do something – they have to plant the coercive idea in a way that it resonates emotionally with their victim so they’ll act on the hypnotic-like suggestion.
This scenario holds true for in-house designers every day when we attempt to sell a design concept, ask for more resources or try to convince a peer to help us with a project we’re working on. It would be oh so wonderful to just tell the person to do what we need them to do – but there’s something about the way we’re wired as human beings that has us immediately put up our guard when others ask something of us.
So the key is to take the same approach that the dream invaders do in “Inception”. Plant an idea in another’s psyche, help them see what’s in it for them and finesse the conversation so that they have some ownership of the idea and even come to believe it was theirs in the first place.
It’s easy to resist and resent having to interact with others in this way, but in the politically charged corporate environment, it’s effective and necessary.