July 24, 2010

"If you're looking for a unique solution, the last thing you should do is ask for a vote"

"Ask Volvo drivers for suggestions on how to improve the brand and they will tell you that they love its safety focus, but could you please improve its sex appeal; ask Audi drivers the same question and they will tell you the converse. Indeed, the problem with asking consumers what they want is not that not only will they ask for things they're not getting, but their request will usually be driven by what they see being offered by the competition. This is one of the (many problems) with market research. And so it is that we end up with a Volvo that runs like an Audi and an Audi that runs like a Volvo. There is a cost to differentiation. There is a price to be paid for excellence, in anything. A college that emphasizes great teaching isn't necessarily going to have the best research facilities. A tennis player with a great serve-and volley game isn't necessarily going to have the best ground strokes. Consumers don't always understand this. This is why, if you're looking for a compromise solution, the yes - take a poll, conduct some research, survey the people. But if you're looking for a unique solution, the last thing you should do is ask for a vote."

~ Youngme Moon, in Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd


  1. So do you think that a solution focused approach to politics can work? I am looking at how this can be applied at the moment but this book seems to be saying it can't? Any thoughts?

    My site looking at this topic is www.solutionfocusedpolitics.wordpress.com


  2. Hi Matt, thank you for your comment. I do think the solution-focused approach can be useful in several ways. From the top of my head, here are some thoughts. 1. Solution-focused principles can be applied by political parties to help 'solve' internal conflicts and to improve internal communications. 2. Politicians can use the non-blaming, non-accusative language aspect, when debating with others (I think Obama does this rather well), 3. Politicians could formulate goals more in achievable terms (see http://ow.ly/2lRNZ), 4. they could use the platform principle more (make explicite what is already working and has already been achieved, 5. they could use earlier success more explicitly, etc, etc. I mentioned Obama. I sometimes think he is already applying much which I would suggest from an SF perspective (see http://ow.ly/2lRUb and http://ow.ly/2lRUw)

    So yes, I agree. I would be against however the idea to start a solution focused political party. To a large extent every party could apply this kind of stuff while it does not prescripe on a content level what the politics should look like.


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