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Elementary, my dear?

January 29, 2012

(Picture credits go to the BBC

Pretty much my favourite thing on TV this month has been the BBC’s Sherlock. I’ve loved it. (And I’m ridiculously glad that it’s going to be coming back for more. And not just because I can’t for the life of me work how it ended and I need it explaining…)

One thing that I caught myself thinking was that perhaps planners can be reminded of something by Sherlock. I know I can.

Looking at how people behave and what they are doing and not taking what they say at face value.  Which I know is what we always say we do, but as timescales get compressed and projects become pressing and there’s no budget for research it’s much harder to dig this out.

Looking beyond the obvious.  The little details of what people are doing, or how they are behaving, or interacting.  There are tensions underlying it all, and looking at it with a more questioning mind will help get down to that root cause. The example in the BBC’s version of Hound of the Baskervilles where he infers from the phone number on a napkin what the man is thinking… genius.

Taking it to Sherlock’s extreme would probably be a bad thing.  Not least from a ‘not able to interact with other human beings’ point of view.

That said, there are some quotes which have lodged in my brain as a good way to think about things.

Namely this one from The Copper Beeches –

“Data! Data! Data! I cannot make bricks without clay”

I’ve been writing a lot of proposals for projects recently. I find doing this really hard, mostly because I want to start to solve the problem straight away; coming up with ideas and theories. So perhaps this quote would be more pertinent:

“Never theorise before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

More facts are needed, and in the right order. And more time is needed to look at what they really mean.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2012 10:50 pm

    Another useful learrning from watching Sherlock is – When In Doubt, wear really good clothes and an air of confidence.

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