10 Reasons Why Lists Are a Waste of Time
The habit of making lists has gotten out of hand. Half the bestsellers around are of the 10 things, 50 ways, 10 tips, and 5 rules variety. Now every other business blog entry seems to begin with a digit.
Distilling wisdom into concrete numbered rules can be worthwhile. But if you have to list 56 Reasons Why Most Corporate Innovation Initiatives Fail, are you really imparting knowledge, or just publishing the results of a catch-all bull session? How does this help us crack the nut?
Here’s the problem with lists, particularly big ones: they don’t help solve problems. Why? Because problem solving is a process of synthesis. When we start throwing too many ideas or facts against the wall – and invite others to throw more – we’re generating lots of unsynthesized list items, instead of solutions.
Change and innovation happen with insight. When you just put numbers up there, you’re avoiding the heavy lifting – the synthesis that allows for insight.
If you have a list that’s of value, then by all means present it to the world. But please think twice before just throwing undigested ideas into a bin and numbering them. There’s too much noise out there now.