The concept of putting humans at the core of our decision-making process is nothing new. From Kellogg development of cereal with feedback from the patients in the late 19th Century, to the introduction of focus groups in the 1940s, we’ve always sought the views of the collective in order to make the right choice going forward. Even now, we scour the internet for other people’s experiences or knowledge so that we can figure out what is right for us.
Decision-making 1.0 – market research
Humanness in decision making isn’t as simple as just asking a person however. It’s about understanding the quality of being human – what really makes us tick.
The trouble with many of the qualitative research methods mentioned above is how they relate to actually making the right choices going forward. Many of these methods work in a very short and isolated manner. They often produce the wrong kind of input to longer-term thinking or to areas where things are changing rapidly, and almost never take into account the next new thing that will shift the game. In this world, different styles of inputs are necessary to make unbiased, future-oriented decisions.
Human bias enables us to understand the world around us and protects us from the unknown. Bias is necessary in a lot of ways and we all exercise many types of bias in our day-to-day lives. The problem lies when you have too many perspectives that have stemmed from the same biases. What you end up with is a type of echo-chamber where actual innovative decisions are replaced with something that is much more one-sided.
The next challenge we face is gathering and processing information. Granted, the internet has made collecting data much easier, however information is scattered and can lack context. This makes the task of gathering the data that is of actual relevance, then analyzing and extracting understanding a herculean effort.
But why is this?
Decision-making 2.0 – tech in decision-making
One reason is our reliance on similar, relevant and related, technology-found ideas of what something looks like. Another is that human ingenuity creates new directions for a whole field.
This means that searching for ‘related’ is not as easy as it sounds. For example, what some may call strategy, is known as business design in the agile and creative world. Those two worlds may never find each other, until the technologies make the connection.
There’s no doubt that AI makes those connections easier. We’re increasingly using AI to help us make choices in our personal life (think Netflix recommendations – even so, not always the best suggestions). AI is even being used to streamline processes in the workplace for better business decision-making.
However, while AI’s integration into work processes can result in more effective decision making, there’s no way that an algorithm can build upon information that doesn’t yet exist, reassess rules to take into account the exception, or understand the impact of an unexpected anomaly. That’s where our human ingenuity comes in.
Decision-making 3.0 – humanness in decision-making
Humans create discontinuities. When we consider what might be, we do not rely on past data alone. When we consider what is in our essence as individuals or systems, our humanness, we utilise our human ingenuity. Sylvain Duranton makes a compelling argument for this in his TedTalk back in September 2019.
The reality is that even in this modern age, understanding our shared humanness remains fundamental for better decision making, even with all the wonderful messiness that we bring into the process. At Hunome, we want to help the world make better choices. To see how we do this, sign up for Hunome and add your perspectives to the thought networks for multidimensional shared understanding.