OPINION1 April 2019

Where is the value?

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Behavioural science Impact Opinion UK

Rory Sutherland questions why rational decisions and processes are valued over creativity and randomness. 

Dulux dog_crop

There are two questions that always fascinate me about this crazy business of ours. One is: what are the activities on which we spend the most time, yet offer the least value? The other is: what are the activities that offer the most value on which we spend the least time?

One candidate for the first category is process. To be honest, I don’t much believe in it. I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Paul Feyerabend’s book Against Method, in which he turns a sceptical eye on scientific methodology.

His argument is that, when you unearth the real events that led to the important scientific discoveries in history, you find they bear little resemblance to the pure approach to which scientists claim to adhere. They are, instead, a surprisingly messy mixture of happenstance, serendipity, reversals, blind alleys, red herrings and lucky guesses – made to look like logical process when narrated in hindsight.

You find the same randomness in the origins ...