Having worked on various business improvement projects over the years, this video on requirements gathering made me chuckle and wince at the same time. However, it isn’t just large-scale projects that suffer from the issue: even the most apparently simple aims can suffer from a strong bias to repeat what works.
As the almost fanatical resistance displayed by adherents of disproved theories shows, once the human mind has a solution to an issue it will hold onto it even when presented with almost overwhelming evidence it isn’t the best solution. And this tendency to accept the status quo is even stronger when there isn’t an external challenge.
So, as happened in the video, people can become fixated on the method rather than the outcome; rebuilding the existing world rather than taking the opportunity to build a more functional one.
Obviously, this favouring of an existing approach over a bespoke one saves time, so is helpful for non-critical tasks (such as the route to work on an ordinary day or where to buy more socks), but for the things that will have a large impact it’s worth taking the time to challenge our assumptions at least a little.