Videos

In this video, economist and author Tim Harford teaches an important lesson about succeeding at failure through the story of psychologist Leon Festinger’s infiltration of a cult led by Dorothy Martin in 1954. Festinger studied the cult members’ reaction to Martin’s false prophecy that the world would be destroyed the following day.Harford uses this example to illustrate the concept of cognitive dissonance. All of us, he says, are at risk of cognitive dissonance in a small way whenever we make a mistake, particularly a mistake on something that’s important to us. We are most at risk when our self-image is under threat. Harford then walks us through an antidote to this phenomenon -- to prepare to be a successful failure. To do that, Harford explains, we need to have a successful mindset and a plan of action for learning from our mistakes.

Generate Better Conversations: Create a Safe Space for Innovation, with Tim Harford

Groups of people make more effective decisions when diverse viewpoints are brought to the table. Learn the psychology of non-conformity and how it applies to your team in this lesson excerpt from economist Tim Harford. The full lesson is available on Big Think Edge.

Technology & Innovation

Groups of people make more effective decisions when diverse viewpoints are brought to the table. Learn the psychology of non-conformity and how it applies to your team in this lesson excerpt from economist Tim Harford. The full lesson is available on Big Think Edge.

Technology & Innovation

Economist Tim Harford on what prison camps can teach you about the economy.

Middle Managers Need to be Empowered to Innovate

We need to push decision making authority as far down the organization as possible. Then people can try new things.

In some systems we can experiment in a really formal way and we can set up controls and this is how credit card companies design their mailing lists.  And often we’re not going to be able to do that.  It’s going to be a much more ad hoc informal process. 

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