Do things get better?


Improvability is a choice.

You can build a society, an organization or a family with improvement in mind. Either things are static or we’re putting effort into making them better. Here are some of the elements:

Assertions are welcome

Information flows in all directions

Falsifiable assertions are tested, and the successful ones are embraced

There’s forward economic motion

Authority is used to get things done, not to simply end discussion

Proven assertions from the past are accepted until more effective new assertions replace them

The new is shipped on a regular basis

Individuals are encouraged to engage with strange ideas and the strangers who create them

Alternative methods are not seen as disloyal

There are common goals

No graft, no bribery, no external hidden agendas

People show their work and don’t fear insight on their methods

Mistakes are embraced when they lead to forward progress or simply encourage assertion making

It’s not okay to blame the ref for results you don’t like

Most of all, there’s a consistent process in place. A process that doesn’t change even as the work does. That process doesn’t get pushed aside every time a leader feels threatened.

There are one or two of these elements that need expanding:

Assertions are educated guesses about what might work better. They are coherent theories of how a problem can be solved or explanations of how a system works. It’s impossible to be sure of your assertion, but that doesn’t mean you should never make one.

A falsifiable assertion is one that can be proven to be wrong. If it’s not falsifiable, it’s not a useful assertion. Saying that a giant green leprechaun determines the winning lottery numbers isn’t helpful, since we can’t prove that it’s not true.

And forward economic motion: It’s easier to turn a boat that’s already moving. Forward motion means more incoming, more decisions, more deal flow. All of which lead to more ways to learn and more ways to improve.