Tuesday, December 29, 2015

An Outside Opinion



You may have experienced this.

You're working on a project and someone who has no expertise in the subject wanders by, glances at what you're doing, and then, on the basis of a cursory analysis, mutters, "That won't work because of [fill in the blank]."

Irritating no doubt but the real frustration arises when you realize that the meddler has a point.

And that causes me to wonder about a fear that goes far beyond simple frustration. What if that limited perspective applies to matters of mega-importance such as cancer research, terrorist attack prevention, or environmental protection?

You know the answer: It probably does. The wake of many a disaster is filled with gnashing of teeth and cries of "Why didn't we notice?"

The decision makers didn't notice because they were too close to the subject and were having a long-term romance with many of its assumptions. Thus, we hear:

"The Japanese wouldn't attack while negotiations are still going on."
"German armor cannot get through that forest. It is impenetrable."
"Foreign cars will never break into the American market."

A classic line to keep in mind: "It is very difficult to see the picture when you are inside the frame."

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