Predictable Perceptions

Seth Godin in his book, “Purple cow” shared how the brain consumes and aggregates information. When the same solutions are shared, it usually dismisses it. For instance imagine, driving down a road, seeing endless slates of flats of the same colour and style. After  a few minutes, high chance this becomes just noise and clutters in your brain. In order to force the brain to see things differently, you must help the brain perceive information differently. Here are flats that you cannot miss seeing in Singapore. 

The flats are usually very alike, similar gaudy colours, designs rarely differ from one housing estate to another. It takes one generation for flats to take on a new design. They are well kept, clean, maintained without any soul. The colours are similar to a point that the brain will process what it sees, without seeing the contexts, details and architecture. Hence every flat we see, is with the sense of the same predictable perceptions. Perhaps this was intended to ensure class divide, is not overtly stressed upon in the Singaporean society. We take the similar route towards understanding situations and solving complex problems. When society becomes mundane and predictable, we also lose the ability to become creative, innovative and the ability to address complex problems. 

Heres, another approach taken towards addressing corruption, crimes and problems in Albania, in a township called, Tirana. Tirana was considered one of the most corrupt cities in the world. It was a city of mud, derelict buildings, crime and most noticeably a depressing place to live in. In 2000, Edi Rama, the mayor of the town captivated Tedx audience with the novel approach they took to curb crime in his city. This is what they did.  

Rama, implemented a series of reforms. One in particular that confounded logic, linear thinking and just plain out of the box thinking. Old debilitated grey building were replaced with a new coat of paint. Rama was a painter himself, he wanted to breathe life to his city. 45 years in the communist regime, left building that were old, grey and moulding. He got painters to repaint the facades in colours from every spectrum, breathing in new life to old buildings. This was a novel approach, that helped to;

  • To reduce crime
  • Paved ways for new parks to spring up
  • Got people excited to take care of their neighbourhoods
  • Pavements were lit, roads were repaired

Rama, looked at problems differently, logic would have mandated 2 things, get more police officers to patrol the streets and undertake more arrests. Rama looked at solving a problem differently because he perceived the information differently. Neuroscientist Gregory Burns, expresses that we need to process information without any bias. To think differently will require us to process the information you have at hand differently as well.