On the Limitations of Heuristics

On the Limitations of Heuristics

Posted on:Jan 16 2013
Captured by:Austin M
Method:Previous Writings

At MECLABS we often emphasize various heuristics that help in the optimization process. As an example, consider the conversion sequence: C= 4m + 3v + 2(i-f) – 2a.

Even though we emphasize this heuristic as a repeatable methodology, it is important for our team to remember that the heuristic is designed to help people capture a new way to see. We need to see through the eyes of the customer.

The heuristic systematizes our approach to optimization, but I do not want the system to get in the way of spontaneous insight. I feel like Descartes, as he spoke about the limitations of mathematical proofs in geometry. Learning the step-by-step process can obscure the development of the student’s capacity to see the whole.

Descartes combatted this problem by developing visual tools. At MECLABS, we combine the heuristic with analogy. I want to make certain that my own teachers learn the proper prioritization of the heuristic; it is only a means to an end. It is not the end itself.

We need to use the heuristics to help people learn to see, but if all we do is teach them the heuristic and do not encourage them to transcend it with holistic insight, then we have not completed our task.

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