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Seeing What Others Don’t by Gary Klein

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CHAPTER SIX

Creative Desperation

Trapped by Assumptions

SOME INSIGHTS ARE ACCIDENTAL, the result of unplanned happenstance or of being in the right place at the right time. Think about the young cop or Martin Chalfie sitting in his lunch seminar. Others are deliberate, arising when people are stuck and need some sort of breakthrough. In his work on chess grand masters the Dutch psychologist Adriaan de Groot used the term “creative desperation” to describe some of the brilliant strategies that players invented when they got into trouble. The clock would be winding down, they’d be in a tough situation, none of the plausible moves worked, and then, out of desperation, they would find an unorthodox line of play that would save them, gambling on some ...

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