Sometimes, having more information will not make your decisions any better.
Yet many people panic before making any decision, and want to keep gathering more data and information before they feel “ready” to make the correct choices.
This is often referred to as analysis paralysis.
And one of the cognitive biases which may underpin it is called the Information Bias.
The information bias leads to people wanting to seek more information even if it will not affect an action or outcome.
Work on this bias is often credited to Jonathan Baron’s book Thinking and Deciding.
For example, believing that the more information that can be acquired to make a decision, the better, even if that additional information is irrelevant for the decision.
This can be an especially big problem in medicine, where doctors will often want to run additional tests for potential diseases even after it is clear what the likely source of a symptom is, and which will not change the recommended course of action.
However, this is also often an issue which decision makers have when evaluating innovation projects.
Compared to more traditional projects, innovation projects often have less data and information about what has worked and succeeded previously. This makes planning and producing a business case very challenging.
Unfortunately, many companies have financial management processes in place which require a project to estimate their costs and resource requirements in detail before the project can be approved. As a result, innovation teams will often spend months producing inaccurate estimates and plans just to get approval, because the decision makers feel like they need data, any data, before making a decision.
Leaders may also keep asking for more information before they feel comfortable saying yes, so a standard is that a “no” will be given instead.
This results in many innovation projects never getting the chance to begin, even if that is the best way to gather the data they need in the first place.
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