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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Why smart people defend bad ideas - scottberkun.com

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I'm not sure I'm smart enough to get this, but perhaps you are.

Seriously, this article hits home and has some really good ideas about not being railroaded when people with bad ideas are trying to run rings of error around you illogically.

I have some samples from the text below - but you really ought to go to the page itself - as your reward, you get some really nice Monty Python's Flying Circus Vidcaps.





Why smart people defend bad ideas - scottberkun.com


#40 - Why smart people defend bad ideas

By Scott Berkun, April 2005

We all know someone that’s intelligent, but who occasionally defends obviously bad ideas. Why does this happen? How can smart people take up positions that defy any reasonable logic? Having spent many years working with smart people I’ve catalogued many of the ways this happens, and I have advice on what to do about it. I feel qualified to write this essay as I’m a recovering smart person myself and I’ve defended several very bad ideas. So if nothing else this essay serves as a kind of personal therapy session. However, I fully suspect you’ll get more than just entertainment value (“Look, Scott is stupider than we thought!”) out of what I have to say on this topic.




Some teams of people look to focus groups, consultancies, and research methods to bring in outside ideas, but this rarely improves the quality of thinking in the group itself. Those outside ideas, however bold or original, are at the mercy of the diversity of thought within the group itself. If the group, as a collective, is only capable of approving B level work, it doesn’t matter how many A level ideas you bring to it. Focus groups or other outside sources of information can not give a team, or its leaders, a soul. A bland homogeneous team of people has no real opinions, because it consists of people with same backgrounds, outlooks, and experiences who will only feel comfortable discussing the safe ideas that fit into those constraints.

If you want your smart people to be as smart as possible, seek a diversity of ideas. Find people with different experiences, opinions, backgrounds, weights, heights, races, facial hair styles, colors, past-times, favorite items of clothing, philosophies, and beliefs. Unify them around the results you want, not the means or approaches they are expected to use. It’s the only way to guarantee that the best ideas from your smartest people will be received openly by the people around them. On your own, avoid homogenous books, films, music, food, sex, media and people. Actually experience life by going to places you don’t usually go, spending time with people you don’t usually spend time with. Be in the moment and be open to it. Until recently in human history, life was much less predictable and we were forced to encounter things not always of our own choosing. We are capable of more interesting and creative lives than our modern cultures often provide for us. If you go out of you way to find diverse experiences it will become impossible for you to miss ideas simply because your homogenous outlook filtered them out.




These two sections have either put you to sleep or turned on your creative juices like nothing ever has before, so I leave whether to follow up to you.

The click is there for you if you are humble enough to use it.

Having not quite mastered the art of not being seen,


Peter
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