ABUNDANT CHOICE

Is the abundance of choice a potential barrier to starting a business or developing an idea?


Gillian Harwood is the Managing Director of Busworks. Busworks is a business hub and provides other creative spaces. In discussing Gillian’s upcoming blog post, she mentioned the abundance of choice. Gillian states there was less choice in earlier decades, particularly for women. This lack of choice once brought about creativity. Whereas now, Gillian claims, having too much choice is a distraction. [1]

Could the increase in the amount of choice available be a cause of disenchantment felt by many? In particular working-class males?

In the study, The Tenuous Attachments of Working-Class Men is the term Haphazard Self’. It describes men who are no longer rooted in a job, religion, community or partner. [2]

“These men’s desire for autonomy in jobs seems rooted in their rejection of the monotony and limited autonomy that their fathers and grandfathers experienced in the workplace“.

Many of the study participants spoke of a need for ‘creativity and self-expression. They want to pivot their creative endeavours towards a business opportunity.

“This is reflected in the entrepreneurial nature of many of the side bets, [ meaning side jobs ranging from petty drug dealing to cash-in-hand plumbing] and the emphasis on the creative and performing arts.”

(Edin, et al 2019)

Founder of Metadesigners, Professor John Wood, Goldsmiths, University of London, promotes the idea of Intrinsic Abundance.

‘making new things from a combination of old ones is better than using up new resources.’

Abundant choice will be an important consideration in developing the Innovation Hub. Abundance will also be added to the Haphazard Index (Hi).

Part of the hub programme will be seeking ways to combine available choices. Combine existing skills and experiences with new technologies and innovations. Success may enfranchise individuals who presently feel trapped, excluded or lost?

John M

[1] see Creating a Successful Hub

[2] see Haphazard Self

Other posts linked to this article. Haphazard Life Plan, considering if the pressure to plan leads some into mental health issue. Haphazard Routine discusses difference between routine and more chaotic approach.

Image: Visualising relations as polygons | Metadesigners.org

Edin, Kathryn, Timothy Nelson, Andrew Cherlin, and Robert Francis. 2019. “The Tenuous Attachments of Working-Class Men.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 33 (2): 211-28. Online 19 April 2019 {https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.33.2.211}

Wood, John. 2019, “Intrinsic Abundance”, Metadesigners.org, Online {https://metadesigners.org/Intrinsic-Abundance-Glossary}

2 comments

  1. Reply

    Great. I like the ‘Haphazard Index’ idea.
    Maybe it could evolve further using other factors inspired by evolution etc.
    E.g. Apoptosis in damaged cells that fail to get thumbs-up signals from other cells? (probably too ambitious…;-)
    Natural selection of auspicious combinations (requisite variety=Ashby, 1956)
    https://metadesigners.org/m21-Tool-Working-Styles

    1. Thanks John for positive comment. Karl Richter comment on the Haphazard Index (Hi) blog post also makes a similar observation in comparing different scenarios to understand how to develop a balancing measure, “Eg two groups pitted against each other in unpredictable scenarios (one that has high Hi and the other a low Hi)…” The focus on combination (or collaboration) as laid out in your Tool No2 Tool – Working Styles could be a good starting point on designing the Hi – gathering together different elements, as one would gather ingredients to bake a perfect loaf.
      John M

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