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How we think - Or how thinking fails us.Views: 628
Sep 11, 2008 1:36 amHow we think - Or how thinking fails us.#

John Stephen Veitch
From Jr.47 (See the Open Future Blog)

Dr Jerome Groopman studies the way doctors think, trying to find ways to improve medical practise. Here are some notes I wrote about a radio interview with him.

We all have stereotypes in our minds, shortcuts to understanding that we've developed. We're told something and within seconds we've made a decision, a judgment, and placed what we are being told in a pigeon hole even when we don't have all the story yet. The problem is that, changing this original decision is a very hard thing to do.

Data based decision making models are supposed to give us better results, but often they don't. Evidence based medicine, sounds good but it's usually the same old cook-book of solutions that prevents really trying to get inside the problem.

Doctors are pressed for time and they are expected to DO SOMETHING, and the easy way to "deal" with any patient is to make a quick decision and to write a prescription.

We all tend to have favorite "tools" that we apply to all sorts of problems. Surgeons tend to think "operation" for every problem, while that's not necessarily the best way to proceed.

There is no perfect way to make decisions. We tend to be hopeful of good outcomes, and we accept too quickly the first "solution" that offers itself. We'd be better off if we could slow down the process of reaching that first decision. In medicine, Dr Groopman says, "seek a second opinion, join a group and try to educate yourself."

Howard Gruber, in speaking about highly successful people who kept journals, speaks about how they used the journal to "bracket ideas". Rather than rush into a decision they were able to "park" the partly developed idea and seek further information or go off and do other things. This put distance between the problem and it's solution, and usually led to a superior result.

John Stephen Veitch
Open Future Limited - http://www.openfuture.biz/
Innovation Network - http://veech-network.ryze.com/
Building an Open Future - http://openfuture-network.ryze.com/

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