Too Much Information

In the US in the late 1980’s a psychologist called Paul Andreassen conducted an experiment on some business school students.

He gave them all a portfolio of stocks and shares to trade and then divided them into two groups.

One group were allowed access to a stream of financial information, they could talk to market experts, read the Wall Street Journal and watch CNBC.

The other group were only allowed to see the changes in price of their stocks and shares and had no idea what the reasons for it were.

He then allowed both groups to trade.

Surprisingly the group who could only see price changes made twice as much money as the group who had all the data.  All the extra information was just complicated and distracting.

I was in a call centre yesterday, and I asked the centre manager how he knew he was giving a good service.  He showed me his “score card”.  It showed information for:

1.  Abandon rate (dropped calls)
2.  Longest call waiting
3.  Average Time to Answer
4.  Help file usage
5.  Right first time resolution
6.  Number of transferred calls (how often calls had to be passed on)

Which left me wondering what was important.

To quote Gertrude Stein “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they loose their common sense”

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