Malcolm Gladwell, der momentane Superstar der Marketingszene (mit seinem Bestseller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference ), beschreibt in seinem neu erschienenen Buch „Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking“ folgenden Ansatz:
The „useful“ that Gladwell advocates in Blink is the idea that we can teach ourselves to sort through first impressions to „figure out which ones are important and which ones are screwing us up.“ While most of us would like to think our decision making is the result of rational deliberation, he argues that most of it happens subconsciously in a split second. This process — which Gladwell dubs „rapid cognition“ — is where room for both error and insight appears. Many of the snap judgments we make are based on previously formed impressions and are competing with subconscious biases such as emotions and projections. Once we become aware of this, Gladwell argues, we can learn to control rapid cognition by extracting meaning from a „thin slice“ of information.
Und das greift Fastcompany in einem Artikel über Malcolm an folgendem Beispiel auf:
Similarly dangerous is how first impressions cripple breakthrough ideas and innovation. Gladwell tells the story of furniture maker Herman Miller Inc. in the early 1990s, when it created a new office chair. It was made of plastic and mesh, and while it was created as the „most ergonomically correct chair imaginable,“ he says, it was just plain ugly. Focus groups, facility managers, and ergonomics experts all despised it. Why? „They said they hated it,“ writes Gladwell. „But what they really meant was that the chair was so new and unusual that they weren’t used to it.“
Gladwell argues that it’s a mistake to rely on the first impressions of customers who are inherently biased against the unfamiliar. Herman Miller execs went against the market research, stuck with their instincts, and created the Aeron, which eventually became the company’s best-selling chair ever. „What once was ugly has become beautiful,“ he writes. Unless you’re willing to take that kind of leap, he says, you’re condemned to doing knockoff, me-too chairs.
For every Herman Miller „going with your gut“ success story, though, there are 100 flops by companies that didn’t listen to customers. Gladwell acknowledges this, but notes, „only by accepting the risk of failure will [a company] ever hit a home run.“ Relying on the good judgment of your staff, he believes, is the key ingredient for a new kind of decision-making environment, and judgment is what companies should be screening for when hiring. With the right people in place, companies can liberate themselves from their obsession with data-driven decisions.
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