We human beings are individuals. We are, literally, in-dividable. Unable to divide. Like atoms. Unique. And despite each of us being a unique, in-dividable being, we have a lot of things in common. But it’s in the commonality domain where we often take decisions more in favor on the common than on the individual aspects.

I have observed many times that the majority of commonality or services oriented decisions we make lead to one-size-fits-all concepts such as generalization, categorization, standardisation or centralisation. I believe these decisions are mostly driven by fear, lazyness or just plain incompetence. Fear for not achieving maximum efficiency. Fear for not achieving the maximum synergy. Fear for having to cope with more complexity. Lazyness because it makes systems operations easier. Lazyness because it makes design easier. Lazyness because it makes change management or project management easier.  Incompetence just because we haven’t yet invented how to design complex systems for complex worlds.

But how would our world look if we stopped generalizing and started designing our world just as it is? A world that is complicated and full of unique living beings with unique service requirements? Instead of falling back on the easy-way out abstracted, generalized “types” that favor a minority above the majority. Time for change!


Comments on: "A World With Unique Human Beings Needs Human-Centric Service Designs" (5)

  1. As usual I am thrilled by your thoughts. However, the cognitive psychologist in me is resisting. A generalization is knowledge. All knowledge are generalizations (oops, another generalization… :-# ) However and here is my challenge to you… we are goal oriented. Now what is that Dietvorst? Tell me!

    It is this goal orientedness that helps us overcome the stupidness of our generalizations.

    Can you explain why it is always a good thing to focus on where you want to land when you are in a slip? Why do people reach goals when they write them down, even if these goals seem unreachable?

    Goals help us to be effective despite our generalisations. Trying to make machines goal-oriented has not succeeded as far as I know.

    Of course I can say that being goal oriented is some kind of notion of what the result should be and we constantly compare the observed result with this notion. However, this description somewhere doesn’t satisfy me. Can you shed some light on this?


    • Louis Dietvorst said:

      Well Marcel, I must say you are quite right in your comments. This blog was written from idealistic, scientifically untested point of view, with the intention of challenging at least my own and hopefully also other’s minds. When I wrote it, the notion of goal orientation never struck my mind so that’s an afterthought now. When you say “trying to make machines goal-oriented has not succeeded as far as I know”, I get the tendency to challenge humanity by asking: why not? or what is holding us back? So I usually reason from my dreams, thereby often forgetting we are still living in a realistic world with very realistic limitations. But nothing whitholds us to keep on dreamigng, doesn’t it? Does this answer your questions?


    • Louis Dietvorst said:

      Marcel, an additional reply: I think we might be goal oriented because that’s the way we can afterwards measure any progress. Progress implies change, change implies something old needs to be changed, need to change implies something was wrong, or not perfectly enough. So it’s the drive towards perfection that drives us to be goal oriented, induces fear and takes away the attention to the things that were already good. In a good=good enough culture, goal oriented work could very well be simplified or minimized (assumption)


      • Aha! Very interesting. I already felt this but didn’t know this. What I hear you saying is that goals are very close to life itself. Life, love, you know, that kind of stuff. Am I correct? And, ok, here I stop analyzing. I prefer enjoying life rather than studying it. If I enjoy I am in, if I study, I am out. 🙂 Thanks!


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