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An inability to know what you know

May 26, 2018

Grant McCracken's series of case studies on American culture have been eminently interesting and entertaining, and like a good novel I've been limiting myself to one a day even though a blob of them dropped a few days ago. Today's read, on platforms for producer creativity struck a chord with me as it explored the idea that organisations ignore people within their walls who might actually know something outside what their job description requires them to know. McCracken identifies the

expedients [that] were created to make the corporate culture more sensitive to and inclusive of American culture. There were agencies and consultants who plotted an orbital course around the corporation, far enough away to know something about this American culture, but close enough to the corporation they could “airlock” this intelligence in.

For me, this syndrome goes way beyond American culture. Organisations hire consultants, the more expensive the better, because they don't trust their own analytical abilities. And because they don't trust themselves to implement, they then hire change management consultants. And when change fails to happen, they just start again with a new set of consultants.

Sometimes, shareholders may revolt and pull the plug on this idiocy. But when there are no shareholders, what then?

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Jeremy Cherfas

I work as a freelance communicator. In essence, I see myself as a translator. I speak Science, and I speak English, and I work hard to make the two understand one another. Mostly, I like to help people tell their stories. I'm a biologist by training and by inclination, and my main joy is applying that to food and the agriculture and industries that supply it. I also have side interests in economics and many other things.