16 - All Models are Wrong
“All Models Are Wrong, but Some Are Useful”. George Box.
I love this quote. The first time I heard it, I felt like I discovered a small treasure. Something that will haunt me for years, coming back over and over.
The former context was “... all models are approximations. Essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful. However, the approximate nature of the model must always be borne in mind....” (cf source).
Yes, everything we perceive, all the mental models we build based on our perception are approximations. Reality is always more complicated, fuzzy, chaotic than our representation. And it’s especially true when it comes to organization and human interactions.
Models also have the power to make our reality far easier to understand, by over-simplifying it.
We are going to dive into some well-known management models in this guide. They help to shape our mind and the way we look at the challenges we are facing.
These models are like design patterns, they create a shared reference to allow us to express something complex in a simple way. However, the specific context of a problem is too complex to be captured and solved with a simple pattern. Keep in mind to never blindly apply them.
These are simplified representations of a reality, not the reality.