About Patterns


There is today an increased understanding among the knowledge practitioner fraternity (large part thanks to Dave Snowden) that the human mind has evolved to recognize patterns, not necessarily data. While one can amply see this from any powerpoint which has put the audience to sleep with slide after slide of text, and yet kept their attention with images, trends, and so on, there are other ways to see that.

Let me give you an example. The other day, i was driving when i was a little confused about which turn to take. I knew i had to take a turn at a particular landmark, but i wasnt sure when i would reach the landmark, i didnt remember whether it was the fourth or firth crossing after the traffic light. But as i approached the place something told me this is the turn i am supposed to take. Now this something isnt based on data in that it doesnt tell to take the turn which comes four shops after the Vodafone store (no i dont remember this, just an example). Nor does it tell that the turn is the fourth turn after the petrol pump. That would have been data-centric. I am not saying that doesnt happen but what i am saying is that pattern-centric is much more pervasive.

Let me take another example. How many of us, when crossing the road, seeing an approaching vehicle, calculate the speed of the vehicle, the distance to us from the vehicle, from there calculate the time we have to run across. Not many, i would think. If you are one of those that do, please do let me know. Here again, its patterns which drive the decision-making process.

The point i am trying to make is just this … That decision-making and related thought processes are more pattern-centric than data-centric.

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One Comment on “About Patterns”

  1. […] work on, and once told to look for patterns, found it relatively easy to look for them. Like i have written before, quite a few times, we look at patterns and these patterns inform us about things maybe in more […]


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