I just returned from London and it seems like when I travel or do something that gets me out of my normal routine I get inspired. And, we all need a little inspiration. London is inspiring to me on a grand scale. In my mind, it is the most like an older wiser more polite version of New York. It’s not like “Jack the Ripper” is still running through the streets but it seems like there is history around every corner…or at least a pub.
It is striking that you can be very anonymous in both New York and London. Big cities are that way. The difference is in culture….eventually, some out-spoken New Yorkers will yell at you or talk to you for no reason. In London that has not happened – at least not yet. One time I fell in the middle of the street in London. Not one of my prouder moments. It was a few years ago and it was a combination of very high heels, a cell phone, pouring rain, and a less than a visible pothole. I truly expected someone to immediately come to my aid and at least help me get up and collect my belongings. That did not happen. As a matter of fact, my perceived polite Londoners started honking and yelling for me to get out of the road. It was alarming.
My point is that it is better to dismiss your preconceptions because you don’t often really know the outcome. Ya, maybe in New York there would have been a better chance of someone offering aid…maybe not. Is that good enough for you? I get asked a lot of questions about research and my blog goal this year is to focus more on that core competency. And, today’s blog is about research (really!) and how leaving your ideas, preconceived notions, and social bias at the door will serve you well. Start with a blank page and let your customers fill in the blanks. Sure it is OK to have a hypothesis but it better not get in the way of finding the truth.
Research quite simply is finding information that you need to know, that you don’t have yet. And, why add your two cents – it doesn’t matter and it may cloud your vision and cause you to make a critical mistake.
Getting back to the story, fortunately, once the initial shock that Londoners were actually yelling at me wore off, I was able to get up and yell “alright already” at the honking taxis “as if” Miss Montana was a native New Yorker.
People’s reactions, even your own reactions to various situations, questions, and events can surprise us all. Cheers~