Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beginner versus Expert

Since my last post I have been doing some thinking about the Beginner's versus Expert mind. Clearly there must be balance between these two extremes. One the one hand, you want someone experience working on the problem. When you have bypass surgery your main concern is how many times your doctor has performed one. You don't look for a resident who has only watched a bypass surgery in the hope that they will come up with an innovative approach. On the other hand, an expert may jump to conclusions based on past history and miss a nuance that points to a different solution.

The same processes that make us creative by allowing us to see relationships between seemingly unrelated things can lead to error. Drawing conclusions from small amounts of information can help you react/respond to new situations but sometimes we jump to conclusions, classifying a new situation as an old one even when there are significant differences.

How to avoid this pitfall of the expert? It is critical to always circle back and evaluate your solution to insure it is working. Problem solving involves a cycle - it is never a single pass.

No comments: