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Four Risks of Writing Documents for Non-expert Decision-Makers

Four risks vs 2

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed an appalling demonstration of what happens when a non-expert makes a policy decision without understanding or respecting expert opinion. Donald Trump’s arrogance hit a dangerously new high when he stood on the White House Balcony, fresh out of hospital and still infected with COVID-19 and ripped his mask off in front of the press.

In a perfect world, the people holding power would make decisions based on sound advice from well-informed, w…

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What Story Do You Need to Subvert to Make Your Bold Idea Heard?

Knowledge translation is  distillation, not dilution (3)

When we’re pitching a novel idea, most of us behave as Lockeans, whether or not we recognize our connection with the seventeenth-century philosopher. Faced with an audience of nonexperts, we tend to ascribe to Locke’s belief that the people we’re pitching to are tabulae rasae, blank slates. 

Consequently, we do all we can to engrave our novel story onto those empty surfaces. We go to great pains to educate our audience, filling them up with technical details. We emanate enthusiasm and confidenc…

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