Thursday 14 March 2024

Thinking of the wisdom of crowds

Lifted from the doorman’s view

It may now be the stuff of legend, but I cannot find the story I read some time ago about how lifts or elevators came to be built on the outside of buildings. Apparently, a prominent hotel planned to close for a long time to install elevators that required punching holes through existing floors, the construction debris rendering the hotel uninhabitable for the duration of the project.

The architects had their plans up and things were ready to go, which would have put the hotel staff out of work for months. One of the doormen heard of these plans and somewhat quipped about why they had to close the hotel and whether it was not possible to consider building the lift on the outside, thereby keeping most of the hotel business open for the duration of the said project.

From hearing to using

Someone who could influence things heard this suggestion and got the architects and designers to work on this idea which as the doorman suggested was a better way to keep the hotel going while the new lift was being installed. After the completion of the project, the outdoor lift became a draw for the clientele and the public alike.

The wisdom of crowds in a broader sense is not so much about the multitude of ideas that come in when a situation or problem is posed, but the ability to sift through the many viewpoints to see what is viable.

Some organisations get advantages out of this more than others in knowing how to pose the problem, managing the scope of those who can bring new perspectives and having the means to assess the viability through discovery, determination, development, design, deployment, and delightful.

The struggle toward delight

Delightful suggests that the outcome is beneficial, enjoyable, profitable, working, and could be improved upon with the knowledge and experience gained, and inspire to do other things.

Then again, the wisdom of crowds when not looked at pejoratively would mean one is open to new ideas by finding sources of new perspectives especially from those not steeped in the profession or expertise, in what might be both a new pair of eyes and ears brought into the conversation.

You have to wonder if you are afraid to see things differently and that your premises are challenged to the extent that you are persuaded to adopt a different stance or modify a concept to accommodate variance you had not heretofore considered. I think it is a healthy thing and where you find the opportunity to be involved in such a situation, engage it, embrace it, and learn from it.

Postscript: There are books and further academic and research work on The Wisdom of the Crowd, fallacies, crowdfunding, groupthink and so on, this blog is just a general viewpoint on some activity I was recently involved in.

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