Please proceed: Information bias

Constantly seeking additional information is a very indulgent way to appear responsible in the face of uncertainty or fear. The only problem is, it doesn’t work. The only thing that results is a waste of (potentially very valuable) time.

From Wiki:

“Information bias is a type of cognitive bias that describes the tendency to seek information when it does not affect action. People can often make better predictions or choices with less information: more information is not always better. An example of information bias is believing that the more information that can be acquired to make a decision, the better, even if that extra information is irrelevant for the decision.”

Oh yeah, that sounds familiar. How many times have you come across information bias in your work life?

We all know people who are data hogs. I have learned to love love love data, but there is a misconception that knowing the universe is inherently helpful in business.

Not necessarily.

It’s the business equivalent of hoarding. The house is piled high with data – data that you can no longer find in the crevices, data that is old and no longer has utility, data that, frankly, is beginning to stink. All because someday, it might be useful for something.

It doesn’t need to be this way. One way to avoid this trap is to have a hypothesis and gather information that will test the hypothesis. Do not blindly collect enough data so that, you hope, the answer to a problem will somehow make itself known.

Have a take on the problem, then gather the data. If that process leads to more questions, fantastic. Take the new information, then refine or create a new hypothesis.



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