« Biases that shape the way we solve problems | Main | The Telos of an Acorn is an Oak Tree »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Cody Janousek

I'm afraid to commit to reading the Spivak article, but you've definitely piqued by curiosity.

Our systems are highly dependent upon coproduction, and when it is inadequate it is oftentimes felt as something "off" or "wrong" maybe without being able to put a finger on what it is just like you described for the the Spivak article.

I guess when you look at the types of people that need to develop long-term relationships with each other, like a scientist and a policy maker, they can be vastly different kinds of people. Thinking of a meeting I went to with an Electrical Engineering professor and a staffer for a senator, even the languages they frequently use vary greatly like you said making their communication ineffective. Even with a math background I found the EE professor to be using highly technical language, and it took the staffer being comfortable to begin asking questions.


I think your post raises a great point about the importance of considering your audience when communicating. It’s a simple piece of advice, but too often overlooked or ignored by experts in a field. Reading your post, I was reminded of a workshop I attended, hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The workshop was on changing standards for evaluating the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs in California. I was initially excited because California is generally known as a leader in energy efficiency policy. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into.

Even as someone who had worked in the energy efficiency industry for three years, I found the workshop virtually incomprehensible. There were so many acronyms and so much jargon being thrown around by different parties that I honestly couldn’t keep up. At first I chalked it up to inexperience, but when I talked to my more experience colleagues, who were also attending the workshop, they acknowledged that it was easy to get lost at these forums. They explained that people at the workshop were generally experts in a certain aspect of energy efficiency evaluation, and they all had their 1-2 methodological details that they thought were super important to include, so they were mostly at the workshop to advocate for those points. I was struck how much time people seemed to spend talking past each other, and how little time they spent talking to each other. I can’t help but feel clearer communication could have improved the situation.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Brugos Angels

Elephant Metamorphosis

The Barely Functionalists

Charismatic Megafauna