Are We Drinking Our Own Bathwater?
The pathology is so strong, that even the Internet—which has enabled an unprecedented level of information sharing—is aggravating the problem. Rather than fostering more open communication and vibrant idea sharing, the breadth of voice available on the Web has further insulated many of us from divergent opinions.
As it turns out, most people are only reading things they know will support their existing position. The filter bubble “protects” them from having to think, much the same way that predictive analytics suggests NEW things based upon purchase HISTORY.
The pathology of certainty has even been proven to lead to increased levels of happiness, as described by Arthur Brooks in the New York Times. Partisans on either end of the political spectrum tend to be happier than those who believe in shades of gray because they find comfort in certainty. The extremes don’t stay up at night wondering about the answers they’re lacking. It may be a shallow comfort, but it is comforting nonetheless.
While ignorance can be blissful, it’s also how times and opportunities pass us by. We need to be careful to avoid groupthink while not losing the benefits of our tightly bound network. The solution isn’t simple.
How do you protect the efficiencies of closed networks while encouraging an open culture of new ideas and collaboration? Part of the answer simply comes down to the invocation of wisdom. We can keep our checklists and processes without losing the ability to improvise and correctly select the exception to the rule.
Barry Schwartz gave an inspirational talk at the TED conference in 2009 about how practical wisdom can help put a check on our ignorant certainty. He tells the story of a janitor working inside a hospital whose responsibilities in no way include patient care. But, out of empathy and practical wisdom, he managed to contribute to a better patient experience—not by doing what he’s “supposed” to do, but by doing what is right.
A third-generation printer, Dustin LeFebvre delivers his vision for Specialty Print Communications as EVP, Marketing through strategy, planning and new product development. With a rich background ranging from sales and marketing to operations, quality control and procurement, Dustin takes a wide-angle approach to SPC