However, years like 2016 remind us how fallible we are as humans, how out of touch we are, and how bad we are at making decisions. Around the world we've seen at least two significant public votes go in ways completely unexpected by 'the experts'. I believe (and perhaps as a psychologist I would) that the key ingredient missing with all the knowledge we now have is empathy. We are amassing knowledge, polls, opinions, and data on just about everything - but the more information we have the less effective we are being with that information. Is it the quest for information that is blinding us from understanding the very issues we are trying to get enlightened on?
One of my very favourite quotes sits outside the University of Chicago and reads 'Within these walls contain no wisdom - only the ability to weigh and consider'. So perhaps this year's worlds events will make us, rightly, a little more wary on blindly accepting the 'experts' opinion and realising that everyone can be a professor - even if it's just 'The Weet-Bix Professor'.
Get informed, get inspired - but most of all seek first to understand.
To this end, the single biggest skill missing from organisations? Empathy. Considering things from others points of view, putting yourselves into the shoes of the customer, consumer, trade partner and understanding what their needs are should be our first focus. No one wants to be told what to do, or what to buy. We want to be heard and understood, and have our own needs meet.
Business title for 2017 'Head of Empathy' - has a ring to it!
We all want people to change; whether we want consumers to buy more, employees to work more or colleagues to think moroe - if people did exactly what we wanted them to do we would all be happier... and richer. Adam Ferrier, the behavioural economist driving consumer engagement for brands like Levi's and Pepsi, arms delegates with a new way of inspiring lasting tangible change using a potent blend of human psychology and advertising know-how.