Marrying “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” & “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure”

I’ll be the first to admit that I have limited mental abilities. I can only take in and comprehend so much at a time. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.

The business community about 25 years ago started to change how it operates. A similar saying arose: you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Programs like Six Sigma and other statistical methodologies evolved to handle the numbers associated with tracking current states and the subsequent change.

So now pops a guy by the name of Jesse Schell. He is a CEO of a company called Schell Games. He is also a professor at Carnegie Mellon. He aims to marry the two cliches I mentioned before: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” and “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure.” To do this you have to imagine a world where you constantly interact with your environment. This is the measure part. He talks about disposable technology that tracks what is happening. If you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, it is recorded. If you eat chips and not a banana, it’s known. Now be creative and consider a game or games where your behavior is scored, not as good or bad, but as it is. If the game is fun, you’ll change your behavior to accomplish some sort of goal. This is the “… Out of Mind” and “… Manage…” part of the sayings.

Of course, this begs the statement – I don’t care about the length of time I brushed my teeth. Schell is confident his games will make me care. But I can’t help but to revert to my original position on this – I have limited mental abilities 🙂


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