Saturday, January 23, 2010

Group Think...

Interesting piece on problem solving, but with implications to politics and lots of other things…

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/fail_accept_defeat/

Couple of excerpts…

“Over the past few decades, psychologists have dismantled the myth of objectivity. The fact is, we carefully edit our reality, searching for evidence that confirms what we already believe. Although we pretend we’re empiricists — our views dictated by nothing but the facts — we’re actually blinkered, especially when it comes to information that contradicts our theories. The problem with science, then, isn’t that most experiments fail — it’s that most failures are ignored.”…

The second point reminds me of one of Tom Peter's mantras... Are you hiring enough Freaks?...
“But his larger point is crucial: There are advantages to thinking on the margin. When we look at a problem from the outside, we’re more likely to notice what doesn’t work. Instead of suppressing the unexpected, shunting it aside with our “Oh shit!” circuit and Delete key, we can take the mistake seriously. A new theory emerges from the ashes of our surprise. Modern science is populated by expert insiders, schooled in narrow disciplines. Researchers have all studied the same thick textbooks, which make the world of fact seem settled. This led Kuhn, the philosopher of science, to argue that the only scientists capable of acknowledging the anomalies — and thus shifting paradigms and starting revolutions — are “either very young or very new to the field.” In other words, they are classic outsiders, naive and untenured. They aren’t inhibited from noticing the failures that point toward new possibilities."

From one of Tom Peters' slides...
"Our most beloved products were developed by hunch, guesswork, and fanaticism, by creators who were eccentric- or even stark raving mad" Jack Mingo, How the Cadillac Got it's Fins

Yet, our politicians, economic developers, community leaders... they all look alike, went to the same schools, read the same things... pickle vendors one and all...

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