At Anekanta® Consulting, we believe that it is impossible to lead effectively or to create any technology without bias if a wide set of perspectives are not considered.
Anekantavada underpins the core philosophies of Anekanta® Consulting. The philosophy juxtaposes single fixed views and multiple view points in that they could all be “correct” although none in isolation provide the truth or reality about a situation.
This concept plays out when applied to AI training data sets. We use automated facial recognition software as an example of what may happen if a non diverse set of images is input into the AI. As a result, the AI can only “see” images like them. The AI becomes biased and therefore cannot make good decisions. This issue has been discovered and is being corrected leading to improvements in the accuracy of automated facial recognition. This could only happen because there was acceptance of the fact that the software became biased and this was evidenced by its poor decisions.
Anekantavada is explained through the well known parable of the elephant and the blindfolded men [sic]
“Several blindfolded people are each given the task of identifying a large animal (an elephant) using their sense of touch alone. Each declares a different result; a wall, a tree, a snake. They are all adamant that they are correct. But without the full view, each makes an error. Only when the perspectives of all are combined are they able to agree that the animal is an elephant.“Text modernised. Original source Piotr Balcerowicz (2003). Essays in Jaina Philosophy and Religion.
In the parable, the individuals are each correct in what they observe, but none can actually express the whole truth.
Why we need the wider picture
If we transfer this idea into an industry setting, this parable is often described as “looking at an elephant through a pinhole” or “needing the wider picture”. This means that alternative perspectives are needed in order to understand what is felt to be the most complete version of the truth on which a decision can be based.
The concept encourages the opening of the minds of executives to the idea that different perspectives may not be available within the organisation. This may be because everyone thinks in the same way and all look the same, or may not have the skills, experience, benchmarking or resources available to them.
Group-think – what is that?
Group-think is an issue in the decision-making process. It can happen if the board is a closed network and there is insufficient diversity of thought and little or no inclusion. It may miss out on the different perspectives resulting in a narrow or less successful strategy. A good test of diversity is whether the entire board looks and acts in the same way, everyone agrees and there is little or no healthy and challenging debate. If board executives do not look outside a narrow perspective, the board, and therefore the company will be less successful than one which is diverse and inclusive.
Good decisions made by good people with the best available information
First and foremost we help you to find different perspectives in order to eliminate bias and guide you to apply the right technology to improve board decision making. We find the stakeholders and educate and influence them to see the whole picture. We undertake strategic research and backed by the findings in the evidence, advise which strategies may enhance the company’s position in the marketplace. This may be through more innovative products, the use of artificial intelligence to query and correlate public data sources, better digital tools or optimised processes through digitalisation.
Our specialised focus areas are; defence and security, professional security and video surveillance, smart cities, smart buildings, retail and manufacturing. We lead the way with innovation to augment human decision making for maximum benefit, which in the highest risk scenarios can save lives.