Saturday 1 December 2018

Models as lenses

Last week, I blogged about my Idiot's Guide - a sort of vade mecum or reminder list of various models, theories etc that I have used over the years.

Chatting about this with the ever-perceptive Jane, we discussed how experience, reading, good supervision and reflection, etc help one to choose, almost intuitively,  the right model or theory to apply to a particular situation. Then, more interestingly, we discussed the value of applying the wrong model.

If one is dealing with a difficult negotiation, for example, it is hard to better the Harvard Model. But perhaps it would also be useful to look at it in the light of, say, the Drama Triangle, or the Conscious Competence Model.  Either of these might prove very enlightening, suddenly - enabling one to consider quite different aspects of the situation.

The metaphor that we quite liked for this was a lens. Looking at a problem through the correct lens can bring it into sharp focus, and that is really useful. But perhaps looking through a different lens - say a coloured one, or even one that blurs the focus, might enable us to see something new and fresh, that is of real value.

And the other thing that the lens metaphor highlights, of course, is that we are almost always using lenses, or models, to structure our thinking; and it is valuable to be explicit with ourselves about that, or we risk not noticing the interpretations we are putting on reality, and falling prey to unconscious bias, confirmation bias and all the risks that they imply.

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