Pro/Pre Hindsight

Pro/Pre Hindsight

Problem Solving
When To Use?
Visualizing risks or requirements to a goal
Asking yourself: What must have happened in order to achieve or avoid certain outcomes

Pro Hindsight

Take some plan or goal you have and imagine a brilliant success. Everything went great, and now you’re in the future celebrating. Maybe your team is there, or your family and friends. You may even be giving a speech regaling everyone with the story of what happened. So then try asking yourself: What must have happened in order for this success story to come about?
  • Try to be as concrete as possible, point out things that an impartial observer can identify.

Pre Hindsight (aka Pre-mortem)

Visualize failing to reach your goal. How surprised are you? If you’re not particularly surprised, consider what that says about your goal.
  1. Imagine yourself taking the action — executing the plan
  1. Check how surprised you will be if you fail
  1. Ask yourself what the most likely cause of failure will be (assuming you will fail)
  1. Update your plan to avoid it 
This is pre-hindsight — using imagination to predict obvious failure modes.

Something Special About These Thinking Toys?

This power is a bit curious to me. By imagining a hypothetical, our mind can identify “obvious” new insights. But if they’re so obvious, why didn’t we already know them? Why must we consciously move our attention in this pattern of pre-hindsight to reveal the insight? We may be toeing the edge of the capabilities of our mind. Powers that are accessible but require a conscious nudge to access.