09 January 2009

Wisdom - Necessary but not sufficient

As a follow up post on my previous post “When Experience Sucks”, I gathered the boldness to express further after reading an interesting article in Harvard Business Review. It was rather a short article but insightful and I am not going to repeat what has been told in HBR. That article helped me to validate my perception on experience and also added another perspective.

Though it is true that hard work or learning the things in life hard way bring the wisdom, sometimes wisdom alone is not sufficient to solve a problem. Even if we directly correlate experience with wisdom, the article claims that the wisdom alone is not sufficient to solve a problem. I am not going to talk experience without the wisdom (for me, it is not experience is whiling away the time). If experience alone is sufficient to solve a problem, every person with average intelligence should solve the problems (but it isn’t the case). It is reasonable to say that “all experienced people do not solve problem” or “all experienced people do not solve a problem quite well”.

The scientific studies say that “human beings” tend to think reproductively. I am trying to tie a knot between HBR article and point raised by creativity expert Michael Michalko in his book Cracking Creativity. In his book, Michalko says that most of the human beings think reproductively in a conventional way. Rather it takes a genius touch to see things productively. The ability to see things productively is needed and one can see the world productively by constantly unlearning the knowledge about the object or the problem statement. However, we have tuned ourselves in such way that we always feel it easy to have a blurred vision – seeing things from only very few perspectives. So, ability to see problem in new angles is another important attribute problems (if you solve the problem in novel way, it is bonus).

Mere experience will not help us to solve a problem or at most help us to solve the problem in “yet another time” fashion. But if one shifts the focus and sees things fresh, I am sure we will be bring in “yet another way” of solving the problem. Experience is also about constantly unlearning previous perspectives and constantly learning to see things in new perspectives.

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