A National Geographic puzzle (described below) that 80% of children can solve flummoxes most adults.
As we get older we develop a whole range of skills that allow us to operate more efficiently. The problem is that these optimizations result in blind spots and lowering of creativity.
Now, don’t get me wrong—the tradeoff is worthwhile. You really don’t want a six-year-old in charge of your data analysis strategy. Creativity is over emphasised in modern business writing. However, clearly we should try to eliminate some our harmless biases.
This is where decision and data science help. Mathematical models, formal decision making processes and real-world data can challenge our preconceptions. When confronted with a gut-feeling square peg that won’t go into the round hole of a formal model we are forced to confront our biases and re-frame our understanding of our environment.
Alternatively, we can angrily toss out the model and data for disagreeing with our cherished theories—but that’s politics for you.
The puzzle is to work out which way the bus shown at the top of the post is traveling.