Innovative Minds DON'T Think Alike

"Elizabeth Newton, a psychologist, conducted an experiment on the curse of knowledge while working on her doctorate at Stanford in 1990. She gave one set of people, called “tappers,” a list of commonly known songs from which to choose. Their task was to rap their knuckles on a tabletop to the rhythm of the chosen tune as they thought about it in their heads. A second set of people, called “listeners,” were asked to name the songs.

Before the experiment began, the tappers were asked how often they believed that the listeners would name the songs correctly. On average, tappers expected listeners to get it right about half the time. In the end, however, listeners guessed only 3 of 120 songs tapped out, or 2.5 percent.

The tappers were astounded. The song was so clear in their minds; how could the listeners not “hear” it in their taps?"

Today's New York Time presents a remarkable piece which, as many remarkable pieces seem to do, states the obvious. Innovative minds don't think alike.

This brings into question the many, exhausting, expensive efforts to conform knowledge-worker knowledge to a certain defined standard. As I've commented before, most of the work we do these days relies upon tacit knowledge, that kind of knowledge we might not even be aware we have. It's different for you and for me and for that other guy over there. When we manage to get to thinking on the same page, we're stuck on that page. This, I claim, is one reason we see every bank stumbling on the same sub-prime mortgage crisis (every one had a model that told them exactly when to sell, but, interestingly, not whom to sell to), and why every company that hires only PMPed project managers find their projects compromised in exactly the same old way. (Yawn.)

Here's the link to the article.

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