Saturday 2013-03-02

The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dorner

Dorner ran a bunch of experiments to determine how people reacted to complex scenarios in which they had to achieve a goal. He subjected people to multivariate constellations of interacting processes, some linear, some exponential, some easily measured, some with large delay lags. Some people fared well: they were more likely to make small changes initially (if any), observe how the system responded, and keep iterating on testable hypotheses.

We may resort to "horizontal flight", pulling back into a small, cozy corner of reality where we feel at home, like the Greenvale mayor trained in social work who finally focused all her attention on one troubled child.
Or we may resort to "vertical flight", kicking ourselves free of recalcitrant reality altogether and constructing a more cooperative image of that reality.
-- Information and Models