The second day of ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement started with a keynote by Margaret Haffernan, an author and entrepreneur, who spoke about confirmation bias. We are drawn to the ideas and people that are familiar to us and that reflect our views–“We would rather be wrong than alone.”
In the workplace, that’s why we may be hesitant to question mistakes or authority.
“Investing time with people not like you makes conflict easier,” said Heffernan. “We have to reframe conflict as thinking and decision-making as hypothesis.” Great questions are the heart and soul of great collective thinking—what is the dis-confirming data, what are the alternatives? The key takeaway is that willful blindness is part of being human, but we can work to overcome some of that bias.
This is a good lesson to impart at an international conference with thousands in attendance—and probably just as many learning opportunities.
A not-unrelated takeway ran through the keynote of the afternoon speaker, Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org. The organization Best founded helps raise money for schools and teachers in innovative ways–such as funding field trips or school activities for teachers whose students do well on certain assessments (a system preferable for many to tying salary to student performance).
In the afternoon, there was another opportunity for expanding one’s horizons and networking with people from all walks of life. The exhibit hall extravaganza kicked off at 2:15 p.m. and featured live music, many giveaways and prizes, and afternoon treats.
The day concluded with yet another great networking opportunity—the networking reception, which most guests attended—or so it seemed.
-The closing session by keynote speaker, Analjit Singh, Founder Chairman of Max India Limited, and the International Team Excellence Awards Ceremony, 10:30-noon, in Delta Ballroom A.