Experts love complicated things

House. He loves the complicated stuff.
House. He loves the complicated stuff.

I’m recovering from pneumonia at the moment. The early stages involved five days in hospital and a fantastic opportunity for some ‘hands on’ NHS user experience.  I’m not recommending anyone interested in the workings of the NHS gets sick, but it doesn’t half give you an insight.

As it turns out I’m a very straightforward / simple problem:

Stage Activity / Response Achieved?
1 Typical   pneumonia symptoms?  (NHS Choices). TICK
2 Carry out tests to confirm initial diagnosis. TICK
3 Start generic treatment program. TICK
4 Confirm diagnosis and modify treatment. TICK
5 Check   I’m responding TICK
6 Send   home with ‘industrial’ quantities of antibiotics. TICK
7 See you in six weeks for a checkup. TICK
8 All ‘ticks in boxes’? JOB DONE

Apparently I’m a fit (oh yes), healthy (cool), handsome (I put that bit in), and YOUNG! (It’s all relative).  The pneumonia is a common one, very treatable, and as such it isn’t of much interest to the medics.

They didn’t actually say I wasn’t very interesting,……. but it was obvious from
the ward rounds.  My turn arrives, the medics work out its ‘in the bag’, and it’s all eyes darting down the list to whose next. Meanwhile the consultant goes through a few niceties with me. Anyone with complications like a heart attack, pneumoconiosis, blood clots, anything, and they were flocking around  like vultures.  At the centre is the consultant holding court, “now young Miss/Mr Brighteyes, your diagnosis would be….. “, it was like watching auditions for the next series of House. They really do love complicated stuff.

Anyway, I’m not complaining.  It’s really good to be a simple problem, thanks for fixing me.

So, what’s the PONT?

  1. Experts love to focus on the complicated things. That’s just the way it is.
  2. This can leave some of the simple stuff unattended, and at risk of slipping into a chaotic state. Have a look at Cynefin Framework  which explains this really well.
  3. Being a patient is great place to observe what’s going on, but I wouldn’t recommend it as part of a routine business improvement technique.

About WhatsthePONT

I'm from Old South Wales and I'm interested almost everything. Narrowing it down a bit: cooperatives, social enterprises, decent public services, complexity science, The Cynefin Framework, behavioural science and a sustainable future. In 2018/19 I completed a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, looking at big cooperative enterprises and social businesses in NE Spain and the USA. You can find out more here:

2 Responses

  1. And isn’t it frustrating when you’re on the receiving end of an expert who’s forgotten to reconfigure what they’re going on about for the uninitiated?

    What a lovely blog, haven’t come across it before and will revisit.

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