I was discussing something with Alan today and during the conversation he said something like:
Well, you don’t want to get stuck in analysis paralysis but you don’t want to go to the other extreme either.
So, I though to myself, “What is the other extreme? Does it have a name?”
We all know that “analysis paralysis” is the state where one cannot make a decision because they get stuck trying to figure out all the possibilities. I’ve seen it happen in people a few times, and it can be painful to watch, as they hum and ha and try to figure out what is the right decision.
On the other end of the scale are those situations where a decision is made by someone with little or no debate, research or analysis, and the person is convinced this is the only, or possibly the best of all options. This to me is the opposite of analysis paralysis.
I call this state “utopia myopia“.
Essentially, a very limited perspective is used to achieve a theoretically ideal outcome, ignoring other perspectives or outcomes. This is very common when discussing new product ideas or solutions to problems. There is always a small number of people or sometimes a sole individual in the group who has a very strong opinion of what to build and why, and will not change their view, nor will they agree that additional research or investigation is needed before a final decision is made.
I once worked for a company where the CEO had a real disdain for market research and said at a planning meeting:
There’s no value in doing research. By the time you do your research, you could already have finished building the product.
Needless to say, that company was not very successful at all.
So, that’s my contribution to the English language this week. Use the phrase if it applies. For example, if someone is stuck on some idea and won’t budge. say:
You know what, you’re suffering from utopia myopia, and you really need to broaden your perspecitves.
Watch how they react, and drop me a line and let me know what kind of response you are getting when using this phrase.