Individuals who may be inclined (politically, intellectually, ideologically, etc.) to suspect...the validity – applicability of certain scientific findings, i.e., climate change deniers, or parents’ mistrust of early childhood vaccinations, consuming fluorinated water, etc., arrive at and come to accept such conclusions for various reasons.
One reason emerges from individuals predilection to tribalism…that is, people may be prone to believe (accept) what others, in their social group, believe.
Thus, for some, sustaining membership in…their (a social) group can, at times, and for certain issues, be more important than truth, even truth and evidence-based science where there is obvious and replicable validity and proof.
Michael Myers, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation, stated recently that…“the denial of science is dangerous.” Certainly, no argument here.
The “denial of science” can be nuanced, Myers says…and it’s not always as simple as one’s flat denial of (all) science, as a concept…
- instead it is often a matter of people being in a state of personal – group distrust of specific science,
- in which doubt, mistrust, and opposing views have been introduced, some, of course, embedded with specific agendas.
Myers perspective contributes to the challenge…being addressed here, i.e.,
- individual’s hardening and self-replicating belief systems which go against the relevant science, that is,
- it’s hard for facts to change people’s minds
- when people have (an already internalized) incentive
- to keep believing what they already believe,
- especially if it’s a belief that’s deeply tied to their (personal) identity.
The mental gymnastics individuals engage to achieve this are known…in psychology as, “motivated reasoning.” and
- it’s something that’s extremely hard to get around, but
- if – when people actually change their minds on an issue,
- it’s likely to happen slowly, and
- it often has to be about something which they actually want to change their mind about.
Montira Pongsiri, a planetary health science policy adviser at Cornell University suggested that…when scientific findings are applied in ways that fix problems in people’s lives, they might be more easily accepted!
- “I think it’s the process of science that people do not necessarily trust, it takes a long time,” Pongsiri says.
For people who are facing crucial issues-problems today…don’t necessarily want to wait to read a peer reviewed journal article to get their answer. Too, its frustrating when research – scientific studies contradict each other, or the best answer science has on a question is “we don’t know!”
Myers adds, that one way to convince people about the truth and utility of scientific findings is to…apply – demonstrate it on a personal level, e.g.,
- the extreme heat which grounded many commercial air planes at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport recently.
Direct connections, i.e., demonstrating the relevance of science to people’s lives, livelihoods, and businesses, etc., is what Myers believes is necessary to build – rebuild people’s trust in science.”
On the other hand, there are business leaders who are inclined to wrap themselves very tightly in convention and past practice…which they believe has worked well for them and their company thus far…
- so prove to me why my conventions and past practices are less relevant and applicable, and why I should change!
Of course, this may contradict what one may say at a business or professional association meeting, e.g.,
- advocate, as a business leader, to be forward thinking-looking,
- along with possessing the ability to rapidly adapt to market trends and change.
I have found, what I believe to be my most persuasive and compelling truths and counsel…that obviously encourage business leaders and management teams to engage the intangible asset side of their business…may occasionally be relegated to the back burner, or summarily dismissed.
Scenarios like this have bothered me for a long time…I couldn’t figure out why seemingly progressive business leaders and management teams who can passionately advocate horizonal thinking and looking as a tenant of their business’s success, could simultaneously be reserved about engaging their intangible assets, on behalf of their business.
I am often amazed when I witness hesitancy and/or reluctance to…what, may be the most significant and inclusive economic – business reality of the last two (plus) decades…
- the globally universal economic fact that 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, competitiveness, growth potential, sustainability, and reputation lie in – emerge directly from intangible (non-physical) assets.
Businesses can innovate their way out of convention and past practice… because intangible assets, i.e., intellectual, structural, and relationship capital are not going away, they are permanent embeds to every business!
However, business leadership who elect not to engage the intangible asset side of their business, may go away…business economics is at a point, at least in the U.S. and much of Europe, where many still do not hold a very welcoming relationship – connection to progress, i.e.,
- increasingly larger percentages of companies – businesses globally are intangible intensive and dependent.
Many talk about progress with a sense of ambivalence...perhaps in part, because some business leaders have variously lost faith in business science, aside from the notion its necessary to go fast, go hard, and go global.
Arguably, there has never been such a need for progress in the business sciences and practices more than now…as leverage to remain viable, lucrative, and competitive.
Too, most businesses, to date, have had little, if any, previous access to… operational expertise regarding how to exploit their intangible assets effectively, competitively, and lucratively, i.e., the ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ now being a resource https://kpstrat.com/blog.
- before engaging a company’s intangible assets, I encourage leadership to ask questions, be skeptical, demand proof and evidence of outcomes, and don’t take anything for granted.
But here’s the thing…when answers to specific questions and proof and evidence are presented, without being purposefully spun to trigger fear, uncertainty, and doubt, as preludes to action…
- business leaders and management teams have some obligation to accept it as truthful.
Truth, evidence-based research, and facts regarding intangible assets will motivate business leaders and management teams…and, yes, while every business leader and management team is entitled to their opinion about (a.) what progress is, and (b.) how their business can and should be more progressive, but (c.) no business leader is entitled to their own set of facts!
The following were very insightful – beneficial in writing this blog post.
- Michael Specter, writer, New Yorker, TedTalk ‘The Danger of Science Denial’ February 2010 at TED2010
- The Challenge of Fighting Mistrust in Science: Emphasizing the way scientific findings play out in people’s everyday lives could help. Julie Beck, June 24, 2017.
- Atlantic Monthly Dispatches from the Aspen Institutes 2017 Ideas Festival Saturday, June 24th co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic.
- The Mistrust of Science, Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, June 10, 2016
Michael D. Moberly June 26, 2017 St. Louis [email protected], the ‘Business Intangible Asset Blog’ since May 2006, 650+ blog posts published, ‘where one’s attention span, intangible assets, and solutions converge’!
Readers are invited to explore other published blog posts, video, and position papers at https://kpstrat.com/blog