Thursday, January 16, 2014

Suffer from decision fatigue? Tap the wisdom of the crowd

Decision fatigue refers to the mental exhaustion that occurs after making many choices. This mental fatigue occurs when the mind becomes drained by strenuous thinking, and it weakens willpower and critical thought. As a result, people suffering from decision fatigue will often act impulsively, without taking the time to think through the consequences, or may fail to act at all. 

Despite having thorough tacit knowledge of a subject, even an expert can miss important information or arrive at an erroneous conclusion after facing decision fatigue. In a business setting where any decision can impact a large group of people, this type of fatigue is even more damaging. 

Fortunately, it's possible to avoid decision fatigue by crowdsourcing decision making tasks. By appealing to the collective intelligence of a group, you can often make faster and smarter decisions than if you had worked on the project alone. Coming to a faster decision saves everyone from the mental anguish of fatigue, and a group with a diversity of ideas will often yield far smarter suggestions than any single individual. 

Of course, crowdsourcing decision making isn't always easy. Anyone who has attempted to conduct a meeting democratically will soon realize that it can be impossible to get a group of people to come to an agreement. This does not mean that collective intelligence cannot be used to make business decisions; it simply means that you must be more organized about how you tap the tacit knowledge of others and use it most successfully. 

You must gather opinions from many different people and evaluate them to determine which course of action is the best. This sort of subjective evaluation can be mentally taxing in its own right as the ultimate decision about your course of action still falls on your shoulders. However, tools exist to make gathering, and evaluating this data easier by translating ideas into visualizations. 

By utilizing the tools offered by Ranktab, you can collate data gathered from many sources and create graphs or charts to aid in your subjective evaluation of the results. By creating a visualization of data, you can easily spot trends and pick out the best possible solution to any problem your business might face.

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