What is the SEEDS Model?

The SEEDS Model is a Framework that helps to Understand Biases and What causes them.

  • And to be able to overcome them, when necessary..

 

To do this, it defines the 5 main types of Biases based on what causes them.

 

Its name, SEEDS, is an acronym for the Biases proposed:

  • Similarity.
  • Expedience (Convenience).
  • Experience.
  • Distance.
  • Safety.

The Five Biases of the SEEDS Model

Similarity: We are all Biased towards What is Familiar to us.

  • People love similarities and what is known.

 

Expedience (Convenience): We all like What matches what we already think.

  • What reaffirms what we Think and does not Challenge us.

 

Experience: We are all Biased towards What we have Experienced.

  • What we can explain based on our personal Experience.

 

Distance: People Prefer to choose What is Close to Them.

  • Physically and Temporarily.

 

Safety: We have all Evolved to be Biased towards what we perceive as Safest.

  • Our subconscious pushes us not to take unnecessary Risks.

SEEDS Model

 

You may be thinking right now:

  • Why should I worry about Biases?“.
  • Why is it important in Business or in my Professional career?“.

 

The answer is simple:

  • Because if we stick to what we already know, we don’t obtain extraordinary results.

Sometimes, we have to challenge our biases.

 

Remember what the great Henry Ford once said:

  •  “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”.

 

Let’s see the first example:

SEEDS Model example

 

In the past, Marlboro (and the entire tobacco industry) targeted certain types of Clients:

Marlboro Old Ad.

 

Cigarettes were associated with:

  • Tough men.
  • Serious and Interesting old people.
  • Sophisticated persons.
  • etc.

Of course, there were different Ads but, everybody knew the “Marlboro man”.

 

However, years passed, and the Company had to accept that, what worked for them in the past was no longer the most useful Strategy.

 

Marlboro “modified” its promotional campaigns, targeting a different type of Customers:

  • Young people.
  • Carefree Customers.
  • Party People.
  • etc.

 

You only have to check its more recent ads:

Marlboro New Ad.

 

Marlboro overcame its Experience Bias.

  • And maintained its Business Model in a very difficult Market.

Now, let’s talk about How you can overcome your Biases based on our Professional Experience.

How to mitigate Bias

Similarity:

  • Look for other Situations in which Similarity has not been the best solution.
    • How other people solved their Issues with unexpected approaches.

 

Expedience:

  • Try to play the “Devil’s Advocate” with yourself.
    • Try to find a Reason that explains Why you can be wrong.

 

Experience:

  • Think about Situations in which your Experience failed.
    • A Problem that you couldn’t solve by using your Experience.

 

Distance:

  • Look for Similar situations in another Place and Time.
    • Solutions that took place in other Context, Year, etc.

 

Safety:

  • Try to assume that, sometimes, What you assume is Safe, it is not.
    • Total Safety doesn’t exist, and you should always remember it.

Now, we’ll see more examples:

SEEDS Model examples

We have chosen 3 examples that show How some Companies achieved Success by overcoming Market Biases.

  • These companies thought “outside the box”… And succeeded.

 

Let’s begin:

Jack Daniel's - SEEDS Model example

 

Similarly to what happened in the “cigarette Market”, in the past, Whisky was associated with:

  • Old Men.
  • Elegant Social Events.
  • High Status.
  • etc.

 

Of course, there was also cheap whisky that people drank at home (or in a Bar).

  • But these were the values that moved the Market.

Jack Daniel’s Old Ad.

 

But, as Society changed, so did these Social Events.

The “Party culture” flourished and the consumption of alcohol became popular.

 

In the midst of this new paradigm, Jack Daniel’s forgot the old values associated with Whisky, and made a “risky move”.

It associated its brand to:

  • Rock.
  • Music Stars.
  • Hard Party.

* Well… Technically, Jack Daniel’s is Burbon, not Whisky.

Jack Daniel’s New Campaign.

 

We can’t be sure How they overcame these Market Biases.

But, what is certain is that, now, it is one of the most successful and well-known spirits companies in the world.

Sushi - SEEDS Model example

 

Did you know that Salmon sushi is a recent Norwegian Invention?

  • Well… more or less.

 

In the past, the Japanese did not use salmon in sushi.

 

They consumed salmon, of course, but not raw.

  • Due to its parasites.

 

But, in the 80s, Norwegian fisheries promoted their farmed Salmon in Japan and convinced the Japanese to prepare their legendary dish with Salmon.

  • This farmed Salmon was more controlled and “safer” than wild Salmon.

 

Both Norwegian fisheries and Japanese Restaurants created something New and amazing thanks to overcoming their Biases.

 

Today, we cannot imagine a sushi restaurant that does not serve salmon sushi.

Movie Theater - SEEDS Model example

 

There is a dilemma in Hollywood these days:

  • What can be considered as a “Cinema movie”?

 

Can a movie that has been released on Television, but not in Cinema be elegible for the Oscars?

 

This dilemma didn’t exist before, because, in the past, all the money was in the Cinema.

Nobody created a good film without releasing it in the Movie Theater.

  • It was unthinkable.

 

But, in the recent years, Netflix has been challenging this Bias.

It has produced Top-Quality films that were released exclusively on its Platform.

  • And in few cinemas, in order to be elegible for the Oscars.

The Irishman movie.

 

Is this the future of Cinema?

  • We don’t know… Only time will tell.

 

What is certain is that things are changing, and Netflix is playing an important role.

Summarizing

The SEEDS Model is a Framework that helps to Understand Biases and What causes them.

  • It defines the 5 main types of Biases based on what causes them.

 

Biases proposed:

  • Similarity: Bias towards What is Familiar to us.
  • Expedience: What is Convenient for us.
  • Experience: Bias towards What we have Experienced.
  • Distance: Bias towards What is Close to us.
  • Safety: Bias towards what we perceive as Safest.

 

Tips on How to mitigate Bias:

  • Similarity: Look for other Situations in which Similarity has not been the best solution.
  • Expedience: Try to play the “Devil’s Advocate” with yourself.
  • Experience: Think about Situations in which your Experience failed.
  • Distance: Look for Similar situations in another Place and Time.
  • Safety: Try to assume that, sometimes, What you assume is Safe, it is not.

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