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The Primes: How any Group can Solve any Problem by CHRIS McGOFF

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How do you help people to see the same “whole thing”?

The LEVELS OF PERSPECTIVE PRIME is similar to BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT in that it is really about scope and abstraction. Depending on what you are trying to do, there is always an optimal level of perspective.

Consider this example:

You're stuck in traffic at an intersection. You're late for a meeting, frustrated and impatient, and look around in vain for a police officer to take control of the situation and get everyone moving. Once you tune the radio to the traffic channel, you learn that the cause of the backup is a broken-down truck miles ahead. Even if an officer were to arrive at your intersection, there would be little that he or she could do. The optimal level of perspective in this case is from high up. From this vantage point, cars become dots, and the primary and alternative paths for the flow of traffic become clear.

Now imagine you are the operator of the broken-down truck. A satellite view of the roads around you is of absolutely no value in your situation, since your problem requires a microscope approach. You need to go deeper and deeper into the truck to find the one thing that is broken and stopping the vehicle from running. The optimal frame of reference is tight.

Each individual in a group enters the problem-solving process already seeing the situation from some level of perspective ...

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