Seeing data with clear eyes

My AIGA compatriot Patrick Fredrickson has a keen eye for interesting articles. He sent this one by Cassie Kozyrkov from the Harvard Business Review:

The First Thing Great Decision Makers Do

While I don’t entirely agree with her approach, I like this quote: “If I see no additional data beyond what I’ve already seen, what will I do?”

We are such natural pattern seekers, yet it gets us in trouble as often as it helps us. Especially in our complex society where you can impose patterns on so much randomness that you can almost justify any position.

Learning to stay open (to change, to reality) and present (so you can see) is a lifetime practice. Hard as hell for us sad little primates looking over our shoulders for the saber-toothed cats as we try to spot the edible berries among the poison ones. Pareidolia is our natural talent and propensity. Staying Zen, maintaining perspective and playing god is hard work.

But if we are going to be effective as marketers, designers, human beings, we need to see things with few preconceptions and a whole lot of empathy. Keeping an open mind in the face of new data is a good first step.

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