Who does the world's most powerful government turn to after a massive "failure of imagination"?
Why, science fiction writers of course.
I think this is a great idea, and another acknowledgment that much of our "real" world is actually subconscious and, in a way, imaginary. It makes sense that much of our decision making takes place in that world, and much potential improvement lies there too.
"Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has set aside £4million – one per cent of its budget – for what it describes as “high impact” projects, and several brainstorming sessions have already seen the authors coming up with ideas to defeat terrorists."
Roger C. Parker at Squidoo makes a good suggestion for writing a newsletter that could be applied to any project:
Experience has shown that, before creating the first issue of your monthly One-Page Newsletter, you should identify the topics of your first 12 issues. Identifying the titles of upcoming topics puts your mind to work. While sleeping and driving, your mind will be unconsciously gathering ideas for use in the future issues. As a result, when you sit down to prepare each issue, you'll be amazed at how much work has already been done!
You may not be familiar with the designer of this typeface, Matthew Carter. Finding that traditional type used in books and print did not work well on computer screens, Microsoft asked Carter in 1993 to create a new design, called Verdana. He also happens to know a lot about
Carter is “…very fond of saying that designing type involves a billion possibilities. Once you make your first
decision—serif or sans, say—half a billion decisions remain. And when you make your second—the thickness of each character, perhaps—a quarter billion remain, and so on. Old style or new, you’re finally down to ten thousand questions. Designers often get caught between two decisions, and those decisions occur somewhere just before you draw the first ‘A’.”
We seek that perfect storm in an ocean of possibilities: when there are two discrete options, a short list of pros and cons, and a gut sense to guide us. Life rarely presents such circumstances. Complexity, time, conflicting demands, and shifting information—all cloud our decision making with too few, or too many, options. We can neither ensure a good outcome, nor sense “what our heart tells us.”
Quote is from the New Yorker magazine
story by Alec Wilkinson, December 5, 2005.
Hiring managers are seeking greater decision-making skills in new hires. Companies want employees who can think critically, act appropriately, and succeed in ambiguous situations.
Frequency of the word 'decision-making' in the big job bank, Indeed.com, has increased by over 50% in the past two years. This confirms the CareerBuilder/Harris Interactive survey results I posted here. (Indeed.com claims to have posted 1.2 million new jobs in the past week.)
How would you convince a hiring manager during a job interview that you are a good decision-maker? What examples would you use?
Buridan's ass is a figurative description of a man of indecision. It refers to a paradoxical situation wherein an ass, placed exactly in the middle between two stacks of hay of equal size and quality, will starve to death since it cannot make any rational decision to start eating one rather than the other. The paradox is named after the 14th century French philosopher Jean Buridan.
No surprises in this New York Times story by NATALIE ANGIER. Every time we (scientists, thinkers, researchers) divide the world to try to understand it better, we end up deciding it can't be partitioned discretely.
A newsletter story from the Corporate Strategy Board on "consequent markets" got me thinking about the impact of possibilities on decisions (see last post).
If we perceive outcomes as not possible--such as surviving cancer or traveling back in time--we dismiss them, naturally, from our decision processes. As new outcomes become possible due to science, technology, or social changes, we should reconsider our trusted assumptions. Many of us have neither the time nor inclination to do so.
I believe CSB membership may be required to see the whole story. Let me know.
According to Wiki, "A consequent is the second half of a hypothetical proposition. In the standard form of such a proposition, it is the part that follows 'then'."
"A bat and a ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Did you say 10 cents?
More than half of a Princeton University economics class gave the same answer (as did most of my friends), and it is wrong.
The thought process that produced this wrong answer is an example of
what Prof Kahneman calls 'System 1 thinking'. It is, he says, 'fast,
effortless, associative.' We just impulsively pluck out the most
intuitively obvious-sounding answer. We don't stop to deliberate,
especially when the question seems trivial."
Click here for the correct answer and the full article in the Business Times.