Virtually everything you can see, touch, taste, and smell is the product of a scientific process. And the scientific method isn’t just for big problems. It also applies to the little decisions in our life that make a big difference. Having a scientific mindset is an essential part of everyday life. It encompasses everything from waking up in the morning to cooking breakfast, driving your car, and even falling asleep.
The Scientific Mindset
Broken down in simple terms, having a scientific mindset means creating and testing hypotheses about the world around us. Therefore, approaching our observations about the world through a scientific lens is vital to a successful interaction with our environment. A scientific mindset is linked to stronger decision-making skills that enhance goal accomplishment. In addition, having a scientific approach to problems can prevent us from making mistakes and jumping to problematic conclusions.
Luckily, developing a scientific mindset doesn’t require a degree in the STEM field. Here are two ways you can develop a scientific mindset.
The Upside Down Pyramid of Design
Essentially, this method encourages a strong focus on the design process first. Then, you will present information in descending order of importance. This means that the first order of business is to ensure that an idea (or hypothesis) will work on paper before committing resources to the idea.
For example, after observing a sales process at work, you notice that the sales forms are slowing the sales team down. You hypothesize that creating a document filtering process will be more efficient. In the Upside Down Pyramid of Design, your next step would be to vet the idea from every possible angle before pulling in additional resources. It’s essential to get the idea to a place where you are almost certain it will work before requesting additional time or financial investment.
In this process, the required resources will increase as you move up through the upside-down pyramid, as will the risk and financial investment. However, the idea is that spending most of your time on the design phase will lower the risk and increase the chance of an impressive reward.
Critical Filtering is a way of analyzing our thoughts to help detect red flags in our thinking and belief systems. This scientific method is most helpful when approaching a potential problem or challenge. It includes three key checkpoints:
- Specificity. How specific is the claim/problem/challenge? Each problem must be defined in clear and specific terms. Using flippant statements, such as “the process is broken,” or “communication is lacking,” makes problem-solving difficult.
- Simplicity. Is there a simpler explanation for the reason the problem or challenge exists? It’s not uncommon for people to jump to conclusions and point at issues that might not make sense. Searching for the simplest possible explanation will likely yield the most beneficial results.
- Verification. Can it be independently verified? For instance, is there a third party behind the person who identified the problem who can verify the problem’s existence?
Implementing these two scientific approaches to our personal and professional lives is likely to help us see the world with more clarity and curiosity. Through this lens, our ability to identify and solve problems will be more thorough, efficient, and effective.