We Are All in Our Own Filter Bubble

Projects that are out of control in the aviation industry, health sector or the government are not the result of faulty techniques or systems. The fun fact is, systems hardly ever let us down. Human decision-making most of the time triggers crises, because we are all in our own filter bubble.

The term filter bubble can be applied to our own brain. The human decision-making process is based on schemas, active organisations of past reactions or past experiences. We try to relate new information to something we already know, to existing schemata. If new information does not match an existing schema, we tend to alter the information to make it fit. Therefore, recalling information is not a true, exact recall or reproduction of the original information, but shaped and twisted along your schemata. This process results in your view of the world and accordingly determines how you make decisions.

Your schema is very helpful when you need to make decisions quickly. You know the consequences of a decision and you can quickly go through a bunch of issues like an automatic pilot. Which socks to wear when you go to the office or when you go for a run? However, the downfall of your schemata is that when you continuously filter and shape your perspective on the world, who is there to challenge yourself on your schemata?  By selectively picking arguments that fit your way of thinking, you are stuck in your own filter bubble.

To make decisions as objectively informed as possible, the following tips may be helpful:

1.   Update your schemata by continuously forcing yourself to evaluate situations from different perspectives. For example, in a corporate environment, ask a financial to have a look at the HR employee engagement plan. You will receive new information to add to your schema. This way you are expanding your filter bubble, for the better.

2.   Analyse the roots of your schemata to understand the different filters on your decision. Via a root cause analysis on your assumptions, you can find the missing perspective and you can transplant these roots to create a new schema in your filter bubble.

3.   Build in moments where you as an individual or as a team actively look for disconfirming evidence. An exercise of negative brainstorming (finding all reasons not to make a certain decision) can give you new insights and helps you to look outside your filter bubble. 

To help you with these steps BlinkLane provides leadership training to empower you and/or your team to identify traps and improve your decision-making processes.