Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Out of the envelope beyond the current boxes

The notion that innovation is good is a modern, popular notion, related to the dream of inventing a wonderful app or launching a terrifically successful startup company that makes millions and billions. Just as in the story of the three wishes or the fisherman and his (greedy, greedy) wife or the monkey's paw, it is very difficult to specify all the details of a good innovation.  Anything you invent or install or create may turn out to be a waste of time or a dream that goes bad.

That hot read, "Experimental and Quasi-experimental Designs for  Research" notes that

Such a perspective leads to a considerable respect for tradition in teaching practice. If, indeed, across the centuries many different approaches have been tried, if some approaches have worked better than others, and if those which worked better have therefore, to some extent, been more persistently practiced by their originators, or imitated by others, or taught to apprentices, then the customs which have emerged may represent a valuable and tested subset of all possible practices.

Campbell, Donald T.; Stanley, Julian C.. Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Research (Kindle Locations 81-84). Ravenio Books. Kindle Edition.

So, when considering an innovation, I recommend weighing whether the proposed new is really likely to be better than something older and better understood.

One way to think anew is to jot down some principles, convictions and rules of thumb that you believe in.  Then, examine the list for one or two items that you know are controversial, that many people would disagree with.  Then, find good writing that explains the position of those disagreers.  Read such writing carefully and digest it fully.  Think of ways to test your assumptions and those of people that disagree with your ideas.

Thinking outside the envelope, outside the box can lead to better focus on estimates, predictions and principles of operation that might be tested for probability and altered form.

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby