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1. How do insights happen

1.1. Positive Psychology of Insights

1.1.1. Most businesses spend their time reducing errors in what they already do Which can reduce the opportunities for finding insights which can be interpreted as errors

1.1.2. To see improvements you need to create insights to find things you don't already do An unexpected transformative change to a different way of looking at the world which is a better fit through seeing different connections and patterns or noticing inconsistences in what we expect to see That changes what we believe and feel about what is going on Which leads us to telling a different story to frame and organise what we are seeing Which leads to us acting in a different way (that could be misinterpreted as error) And setting ourselves different goals (from "the way we do things around here")

1.2. Making new connections (82%)

1.2.1. Someone comes across what up to then is an unconnected piece of information and see the implication in a way that others don't So the greater the variety of information and ideas you are exposed to the more chance there is of finding unexpected connections This seems easy in retrospect and just a matter of connecting the dots in the right way The problem is that there are a lot of non dots and noise which have to be filtered out - so how are the right ones selected

1.2.2. And this leads to actions - Insights don't count for much unless they are translated into action

1.2.3. On its own this doesn't explain how insights happen although this is what happens in most cases Its needs to be combined with other factors which are also important in insights Seeing Coincidences Getting interested in curiosities Noticing inconsistencies Creative desperation

1.3. Coincidences (10%) & Curiosities (7.5%) - Open Mind Set

1.3.1. When people who notice these then start looking for a new way to join the dots which might explain them Coincidences are events that seem to to be connected in a way which doesn't fit with the accepted narrative Curiosities are unexpected single events which the existing narrative can't explain - "what's going on here"

1.3.2. The problem with coincidences is knowing which dots to join up and which to reject. That isn't always obvious Which events that happen together are really causally connected and which are caused by an underlying third cause Which coincidences are just that coincidences which have no causal meaningful connection at all - ice cream sales and rates of drowning

1.3.3. To see these connections and curiosities you need to keep an open mind about how the dots could be connected even when there is evidence that they aren'y sometimes the data which seems to show there is no connection is bad or faulty

1.4. Contradictions (38%) - Skeptical Mindset

1.4.1. When people notice these, the story they are working with to join events together no longer makes sense of what they are seeing Contradictions are found by people who are sceptical (closed minded) and are driven to find out why they happen

1.5. Creative Desperation (25%) - Active searching

1.5.1. When people reach an impass and have to quickly reframe the situation to find a way through They find assumptions that are trapping them from getting around the problem and reject them to find a new way

1.6. Insights often require more than one of these routes to be linked

1.6.1. There may not be a sudden aha experiences or come after a period of gestation They can be due to a slow accumulation of coincidences or there may not be time for gestation in creative desperation They don't always rely on having an open mind they can be due to a skeptical and closed one in contradictions You can deliberately search for insights rather than coming on them as happy accidents

1.6.2. Some insights can happen rapidly and by accident while others come slowly through painstaking work Kahneman and Tverski called this Fast (Systems 1) and Slow (Systems 2) thinking. The connections, coincidences and curiosities may join the wrong data points creating Decision Biases and spurious relationships - Systems 1 Contradictions (errors) in the story can only be found through painstaking and slow work to create a better story which accounts for all the data which you may not have time to do - Systems 2 thinking Insights leading to action and performance combine both types of thinking - which fits Klien's model

1.6.3. Kliens Model All insights unexpectedly create a better story which changes the way we act see and feel about what is happening and what we want to happen Contradictions focus on a weak aspect (anchor) of the existing story that doesn't make sense starting the search for a new story that does Creative Desperation looks for a weak aspect of the current story which is limiting action and rejects it creating a new story and new opportunities Connections, coincidences and curiosity discover a new anchor which needs to be incorporated into the story

2. What prevents insights happening

2.1. People sometimes don't see the same dots and so don't join them up the right way

2.1.1. Memory is important for spotting connections, coincidences and contradictions See invisible Gorilla for how we think we remember more than we do

2.1.2. Joining up the wrong dots to create false insights that lead us astray

2.2. But why do some (inspired) people with exactly the same information make the connections, see the contradictions or the coincidences that others don't

2.2.1. Why people don't have insights Not having an open mind to other possibilities and manipulating the evidence to fit a false belief or being a slave to possibly faulty evidence "It isn't what we don't know that gets us into trouble it what we know for sure that just ain't so" People just don't have the breadth of different experience/expertise to understand the implications of the connection, coincidence, contradiction - sometimes even relevant experience is trumped by flawed belief People miss insights because they dont have the persistence to keep actively asking questions or looking for new data and accept the answers they get Concrete thinkers just want the facts and get on and are intolerant of playing with ideas and considering different ways of looking at things. Haven't got time

2.3. Is our reliance on software and computers making us less likely to be insightful through the way that they are designed?

2.3.1. Design principles are They should help people do their jobs better Insight can mean that the nature of the job change as the frame of reference changes which means the data people need changes as well It should display vital cues that help people do their jobs better These cues are the basis for the structure of the database so if people need different cues because their job has changed the structure of the database needs to change It should prevent users being drowned in useless information by filtering out data they don't need This can be harmful to insights because it filters out data that becomes useful when the frame of reference changes. It also means connections, coincidences and curiosities are filtered out The system should help people monitor progress towards their goals That depends on the goals remaining stable and can actually become harmful if the goals change due to an insight which reframes what people do

2.4. How organisations prevent insight

2.4.1. Businesses are generally organised hierarchically and see themselves as managing an efficient machine to generate maximum profits To do this they need the machine to be predictable That means what people do and when they do it needs to be predictable and reliable even when planning change - resource planning It also means that the goals and progress towards them needs to be predictable and reliable even when these are to make changes But insight is chaotic and unpredictable which makes it hard to manage and something to be prevented That means that the business focuses on and judges its people by measuring their deviations from perfection That means having a stable idea of what perfection looks like so that you know when it isn't being achieved. It means that all people need to do is follow the plan and avoid making mistakes to achieve their objectives This works where it is clear what these objectives need to be and how to achieve them and these never change This leads to a culture in organisations about not making mistakes and just following the process Because people are measured by how well they follow procedure they avoid anything that is outside it - making them passive - just doing my job When there are no uncertainties about the best way to complete a task businesses create checklists which people follow mindlessley The hierarchical nature of organisations may also prevent insights making a difference Decision making is made by senior people within the organisation who may be far away from the data and where insight is most likely Insights are often screened out by progressive layers of the organisation which means they rarely get to the top level Insights are also screened out by the people who have them for fear of going against the company line This could be the real reason for Black Swans which are often noticed before they happen but the warnings are ignored

2.5. The conditions which prevent insights being made - do you do these things

2.5.1. Schedule a specific time and keep the period short when people can have insights - e.g., in a workshop

2.5.2. Judge them by the insights that they have within this short period to put pressure on them

2.5.3. Get them to verbalise their insights - a common feature of workshop designs

2.5.4. Get people who have no experience with a task to make connections, look for contradictions and notice curiosities

2.5.5. Take all meaning and interest out of the tasks we ask people to do - just make them coggs in the wheel (process)

3. How to be more insightful and foster more insights

3.1. How we can be more insightful

3.1.1. How to find and use contradictions Look out for times when we feel frustrated and confused because this is usually caused by a contradiction in what we are trying to do and an opportunity to gain insight At these times open yourself up to different perspectives and contradictory views on what you are doing

3.1.2. How to find connections other people don't Foster an approach which is curious so that you open your self up to as many different experiences and different people as you can and don't get ghetoised That could lead to finding coincidences and connections which you had not seen or made before and some could be useful insights into what you are doing BUT not all of these connections will be useful - so you need to find a way of identifying and filtering out the bad ones NICK - I have a feeling that connectors are certain personality types rather than a skill you have

3.1.3. How to get insights at times of Creative Desperation - Klien isn't strong on this so this is my take This is about rapidly reframing the situation where a different set of assumptions can be used to avoid a negative outcome This depends on having past experience of these different frames/patterns and being able to flexibly deploy them at pace Being open to the experience of others widens the pool of potential frames of reference that can be used

3.2. How to help others individuals to have insights

3.2.1. Need to identify the source of confusion or contradiction in someone's belief and lead them towards finding it themselves

3.3. Helping organisations

3.3.1. Organisations are managed to reduce errors rather than foster insights Managing and controlling errors is easier to do than fostering insights which are harder to measure

3.3.2. You aren't easily going to stop an organisation controlling errors so you ned to strengthen insights Klien suggests creating an insight group specifically tasked with searching for and documenting insights Klien is pessimistic this will work so suggests that the negative effects of controlling for errors could be pursued

3.3.3. Reduce the filtering of insights by controlling for errors Go straight to the source of the insights - the people in the business rather than have them filtered as they come up the chain

3.3.4. Having the will to act on insights The problem is that insights about change can happen when a business is profitable doing what it has always done Charles Handy is great on this - see this you tube video

3.3.5. Appeal to authority to change the corporate mind set Six Sigma was designed to reduce errors to zero but it also stopped insightful thinking which has impacted performance It caused an imbalance in the error control and insights arrows you need for good performance It is now being abandoned by larger organisations like 3M Klien doesn't argue for the abandonment of Six Sigma but that it should be corralled and balanced with innovation

3.4. Becoming an Insight Hunetr