By KIM BELLARD
A couple years ago I wrote about how healthcare should take customer experience guru Dan Gingiss’s advice: do simple better. Now new research illustrates why this is so hard: when it comes to trying to make improvements, people would rather add than subtract.
That, in a nutshell, may help explain why our healthcare system is such a mess.
The research, from University of Virginia researchers, made the cover of last week’s Nature, under the catchy title Less Is More. Subjects were given several opportunities to suggest changes to something, such as a Lego set-up, a geometric design, an essay or even a travel itinerary. The authors found: “Here we show that people systematically default to searching for additive transformations, and consequently overlook subtractive transformations.”
In the Lego picture here, for example, when asked how to strengthen the upper platform, most people wanted to add new columns, instead of simply removing the existing column. The researchers note: “The subtractive solution is more efficient, but you only notice it if you don’t jump to an additive conclusion.”
Giving cognitive nudges – like explicitly mentioning the option of deleting something – improved the likelihood that people would come up with subtractive options, but increasing cognitive load (through additional tasks) decreased it. Co-author Benjamin Converse said:Continue reading…