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9.2.4. Inferring: Judging


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 9. Managing in a Complex World > 9.2. Inferring Meaning > 9.2.4. Inferring: Judging

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Beyond recognition and success, I can also make judgements about what I am perceiving, to determine whether it is good or bad, trustworthy or not.

Fig. 9.3 Inferring meaning

The evaluation filter

If you see someone shouting at a child, what do you thing about this behaviour? Do you feel that it is wrong? If so, you are evaluating it in terms of your own values, your individual system of right and wrong.

People with strong moral and ethical drivers will tend to be very evaluative in their interpretations of the world around them. Judgements are affected by established mental models such as when you show a new invention to other people, who seem to see its faults and how it will not work, rather than consider its possibilities.

Our education system is based on criticism, and we learn what is right very often by avoiding what is wrong. We thus cannot help but to adopt much of this critical attitude and consequently can filter out creative opportunity through our evaluation of our experiences.

Suspending judgement is one of the most important innovation skills that gets quoted in texts on creativity. If you can hold an idea in your hand, not thinking of it as good or bad, just ‘interesting’, you will be able to discover many more possibilities than if you rapidly boxed in into good or bad.

Finding ideas is a divergent activity, whilst evaluation is a convergent activity. If you try to mix the two, as often happens when people get together to discuss ideas, the judgmental convergence is likely to dominate and destroy the more delicate divergent creativity.

The trust filter

Consider what you would think if someone, who in the past had deliberately deceived you, came to you with an idea for increasing productivity in your workplace. Your first thought might, quite legitimately, be ‘what is this person trying to trick me into now?’ The same applies to inanimate objects, for example if a car keeps breaking down on you, you might never buy that make ever again.

Trust is essential for collaboration. In effect, we say, ‘If I help you today, I trust that you will help me in return in the future.’ Ongoing relationships are about delayed exchanges in value. When you have a final idea or product that you want to get manufactured, trust is also a very important factor, both around your fear that your ideas will be stolen and the trust that other people need that your idea will actually work and sell in the outside world.

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