How to be counterintuitive (or not)

If the universe is counterintuitive (Standard Model of Cosmology and the existence of ‘Dark Matter’ and the phenomenon of ‘dark flow‘) then how can we expect the people we work with, or seek to support through a change to be anything less?

A Picture of ‘our’ universe

Theoretical physics and cosmology today are looking for answers as to why the universe is doing many unexplained things – like expanding at a faster and faster rate, when all we know about physics requires the universe (at least our universe*) to be slowing, as it loses energy to somewhere…

Creationists the world around also purport testimony and documentation that for the last 6000 years or so, things have been pretty well explained, logical and actual.

Apparently, despite the occasional Red Herring, there is a logical, sequential, common-sense [sic] approach to everything – it is the basis on which project management plans, change management plans, organisational strategic planning and even our daily task lists are made.

So why all the mess and failure? Why are things illogical, non-sequential, and not common-sensical? It seems that there is truth in ‘The Inconvenient Truth of Change Management‘!

People, as a product of the [this] universe, no matter how it came into being, ARE the Red Herring!

In government, we value diversity – we crave it, we court it, and we protect it. Yet, all the plans, strategies, transformation programs and whole federal agencies are born, grow and die, as a result of the fact that we no longer have a barrel of fish, with an occasional Red Herring – we have specifically selected a barrel of Red Herrings, which occasionally have some consistency. But we still make plans to help, change, transform, based on the (false) assumption that we are dealing with a homogenous cohort of ‘beneficiaries’ of all our careful deliberations. In fact, we fund the assumption: how often have you, as a change practitioner, been told to slim down your change strategy because there isnt that much different about the stakeholders that we addressed in the (failed) project last time, to this time?


A picture of Diversity!

‘We cant afford to address the problem, so find some consistency, and address that.’

‘The budget is only provided for delivery, so do the best you can to get the most people using the thing as well as can be expected, with anything that is left over.’

‘Just communicate [broadcast] something – do it more often. Thats all we can afford.’

So, paraphrased, is that something like what you have heard, time and time again, so that the actual skill you develop is ‘redefining success’ rather than actually asking the ‘meek who inherit’ whatever it is that you have been asked to give them whether they think that they have successfully been delivered the benefit they were promised, or even less well defined, expected?

Douglas Addams wrote: ‘Space is big. Really big…

Put predictable. Or it was.

William Blake wrote: ‘To see the universe in a grain of sand…

So, the previously predictable universe is a reflection of all of us. Ergo, NOT predictable.

Herein lies the problem; we keep behaving, funding, assuming, planning and expecting that it IS predictable. Which is isnt. Which we arent.

So, we can give a name to the demon – counterintuivity. However, taking advantage of the fact that we now have power over that which we can name how do we gain the skill to know how to apply a counterintuitive approach, which is likely, given the above, to be the most effective in any given situation that applies to people. More importantly, once those skills (whatever they are) are gained, how do we, as practitioners make a buck from it?

Man [person] can not live on altruism alone…


*There are emerging theories around ‘the Multiverse’ – see – ‘Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse’ and ‘Brian Greene: Is our universe the only universe?’




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