Researchers cannot have a comfort zone – Ft. Dr. Ishan Srivastava

Imagine an intellectual property (IP) professional using the same method to search for prior art for years. One day, a colleague suggests trying a new database that promises to streamline the search process. Initially, the IP professional is wary of trying something unfamiliar. After all, they have invested so much time and energy into perfecting their current method. But eventually, they decided to give the new database a shot. And they are pleasantly surprised by the results.

This scenario is not too far from the truth. Like the one described above, Dr. Ishan Srivastava, Researcher at GreyB, recently wrote an email about his experience stepping out of his comfort zone. This article will delve into his story and examine the importance of breaking out of their comfort zones, especially for those in the IP industry.

SUB: Let’s get 1% better Every Day

Dr. Ishan Srivastava

Research Analyst

Hi Team,

A few days back, my friend Rutwik shared an email explaining the features of the One-Note platform. After reading the mail, I went to his workstation for a trial, and he demonstrated how helpful this platform could be for managing daily tasks.

This got me thinking. I was aware of the existence of One-note back when I was in college. But why haven’t I explored it?

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t all that excited to learn about this platform’s features because I was already comfortable with standard documentation platforms like MS Word.

Let’s take another example. Suppose I tell you that you can generate a flawless PDF file by writing a few lines of code. Will you be interested in exploring the features of Latex? I believe the common thought process here is, ” I can generate PDFs with MS Word. Why write codes for the same in Latex?

Talking from my recent experience. When my mentor suggested I use Orbit in my previous project, my initial thought was, “Derwent is fine. It’s getting the job done. Why learn Orbit ?” 

What seems to be the problem? Why am I reluctant to switch to new platforms? I think you all know the answer to this.

Yes! The problem is getting stuck inside the boundaries of the Comfort Zone.

Let’s try to find a solution. Look at the figure shown below, and let’s say ξ is the effort needed to include a new platform in your comfort zone.

Let’s further divide this ξ into two parts, the first part is Φ which represents the Inertia aspect, and the second part is β which represents Consistency.

The biggest challenge here is the Inertia of the existing Comfort Zone (Φ).

What is the solution to get over the inertia?

I believe that three things can assist us in overcoming the comfort zone inertia: (1) an open mind to accept novel approaches; (2) a reliable source for recommendations; and (3) a demonstration or brief hands-on experience.

To explain these, let me again take you back to the example of One-Note. I used to keep track of daily project-related information in reports, Resource Planners (RPs), and separate word files (rough notes), so I was eager to learn about a platform that would allow me to keep everything together. Second, I got the recommendation from one of my friends, so it’s a reliable source. Lastly, this platform became part of my comfort zone after a few hours of usage and repetition. This repetition is the β that I mentioned before.

I observed the same pattern when I learned about platforms like Latex, Zotero, Python, etc.

To sum up, switching to a new platform is a personal choice, but as researchers, we should always look for ways to broaden our comfort zones.

Happy Learning!

With Regards,

Dr. Ishan Srivastava

Though this article talks about the need to get out of the comfort zone of IP Professionals, this applies to almost all aspects of life – personal and professional. Actual growth is the synonym for uncomfortable. Additionally, you can check out another article by my fellow colleague, Rohit Sood, where he shares Why you should do things that make you uncomfortable?

So, when was the last time you went out of your comfort zone? Use the comment section to share your experience.

Leave a Comment