Why everything takes longer than you expect

Written by Carl Davidson, Chief Social Scientist, Research First Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Director of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative, once said that “the middle of every successful project looks like a disaster”. I’ve always loved that idea, but the view from social science tends to be that it’s the start of projects where the problems lie.…

Why you won’t remember this blog

Written by Carl Davidson, Research First Ltd If you’re in the business of influencing others (to buy something, to believe something, or to act differently), then it’s critical that you understand how the human brain really works. One of the important lessons emerging from the social sciences is that our intuitions about ourselves and others…

Stop Fooling Yourself!

Written by Carl Davidson, Research First Ltd One of my favourite quotes comes from the great physicist Richard Feynman, who cautioned his colleagues: The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. Feynman was talking to other scientists about the practice of science, but his caution…

Warming our hands on a dumpster fire

The Sunk Cost Trap is another of those cognitive heuristics that can catch us all out. It describes how the more we have invested in something, the less willing we are to let that investment go. So instead of ‘cutting our losses’, we often find ourselves ‘doubling down’. We literally do this with financial investments but it is also…

Killing your Darlings

William Faulkner once famously said that to create good writing “you must kill your darlings”. Stephen King thought it was such good advice that he repeated it three times in his own guide to writers, saying “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings”. In…