Sunday, January 17, 2021

variety of Bias

To overcome a variety of bias, fixing many of today’s nonlinear complex problems is a collaborative effort.

It is a continuously changing world with “VUCA” new normal, problems facing individuals or organizations become more complex than ever. So no one can afford to stick to old ways of problem-solving. It’s important to overcome the variety of bias, deepen the level of understanding. If you only intend to fix symptoms, the real issues become bigger and bigger. 

To make things worse, fixing the wrong cause of a problem is creating more gaps, wasting time and energy, generating “irrational thoughts and illogical solutions.”

Observation bias: Observation should always be the first, and one of the most critical steps in any change, innovation, and problem-solving scenario. To frame the right problem, problem solvers should gain sufficient knowledge and unique insight to observe deeper and see around the corner-observe the situation, observe people, observe how things get done or the conventional way to solve problems-is the process over-complicated, or does bureaucracy block the way, etc. By observation, you recognize the pattern; by observation, you connect the things. The "observation" phase is all about the 'sensors' that you can deploy.

Be careful, our minds usually work this way - bad things are "dangerous" and need to be noticed, but good things are "as they should be." We notice good things only when something bad has happened; we tend to take good things in stride. But often, this is simply observational bias. To observe objectively, staying a novice of some sort, keep fresh eyes, with the beginner's mind. Cognitive science confirms that what you see depends very much on your goals and on what you concentrate on given the limited amount of working memory available. Then try to deal with the very things you've been observing because it will bring much more insights when you try to fiddle with it. By understanding observation bias, you can pay more attention to good things, why they function so well, and prevent rather than fix problems only.

Perception bias: We experience the world based on our perception. No two people's realities will be totally identical at a given time. Our perception is an interpretation based on our conditioning, beliefs, insight, or surroundings, etc, leading us to judge others, all of which may be positive or negative, depending on our perception. Believe it or not, the same problem perhaps means different things to different people because they perceive things differently. Perception is an interpretation based on our own conditioning, cognitions, surroundings, or experiences, leading us to make judgments. Thus, it’s important to overcome bias caused by prepositioned perceptions in order to identify root causes of complex problems or frame the right problem to solve.

People’s perception reflects who they are and which lens they apply to make the judgment of others. Understanding perception bias is important because our perception is always flawed - it is not absolutely true, but it is what we believe to be true. There are all sorts of misperception symptoms such as preconceived ideas about how things should happen, silo mentality, stereotypical thinking, etc. Perception gaps will cause the blind spots when either defining the real problem or solving it smoothly.

Common sense bias: All the implicit knowledge of a particular social and cultural environment belongs to common sense. Common Sense is specific to the knowledge needed and shared with a specific social group. A common sense in a local group is perhaps totally odd in a global environment. Learning common sense requires restructuring brain tissues to first think logically, and with accurate predicting of consequences. Have common sense to make the right decision as there’s collective insight in it, but have the courage to challenge it if it turns out to be out of date conventional wisdom.

To overcome “common sense” bias, on one hand, use common sense to make better and faster decisions; on the other hand, have courage to challenge it if it turns out to be just out of date conventional wisdom. Common sense helps in many situations, but its validity will depend on the degree of familiarity you have with the issue at hand and personal involvement. Critical thinking is important to validate common sense, and keep in mind, common sense is neither absolute truth nor nonsense, make sense of it, but don’t follow it blindly.

Why things are the way they are matters more when you work from the “problem solving” paradigm. To overcome a variety of bias, fixing many of today’s nonlinear complex problems is a collaborative effort. It’s important to get to the heart of the matter by bridging cognitive gaps, enforcing multidimensional thinking, and applying interdisciplinary knowledge to frame the right problems and solve them without causing more problems.


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