Problem-solving involves identifying the salient features of a problem. This is a subjective activity; different thinkers will identify different matters of salience.
Specialization narrows our perspective on what is salient. It biases us toward certain mental models and thinking tools. We focus on those aspects of the problem that are we are best trained to recognize and deal with.
When faced with challenges, we often turn to specialists for their finely honed expertise. But when encountering particularly wicked problem domains, a specialist may actually be the worst suited to the task: their specialization undermines their ability to consider the problem holistically.
- Narratives enable us to act decisively in conditions of uncertainty - Specialization inures us to specific narratives about the world.
- People fill information gaps with assumptions - Specialization conditions the assumptions we apply to conditions of uncertainty
- Situations of radical uncertainty cannot be resolved through probabilistic thinking alone - Example of how we rely on familiar mental models when facing conditions of radical uncertainty