Fake News and Business Flexibility

Sadly, so-called fake news is an age-old problem. And an annoying fixture in business life.

So-called fake news in a business setting can include:
accidental distortion – a version-control problem, information-relay error, false logic, false assumption, static, reference error or typo. Or something misheard – perhaps generating a colourful rumour on the office grapevine.
deliberate distortion – an exaggeration, something taken out of original context. Maybe an outright lie, generated for commercial or personal gain.

How can business flexibility (BFL) counter fake news?
The method of collecting and summarising sample or census data to inform decision making, introduces opportunity for error at multiple points in the process. It can introduce delay too. Or introduce selection bias in the data collected.

• be open to engaging other inputs from trusted sources.
• sample quick then sample slow.
• investigate and fix errors. Ask yourself, is the motive of the fake news to cover up something? Or take attention away from something more concerning?
• rely on independent verification.
• lower the stakes regarding a wrong decision made.
• consider publicly discrediting fake news sources, when you find them (whistleblowing).

The combination of the above 6 approaches demonstrates BFL at work. And how it can be used to counter fake news.

Simon Leicester
Business Flexibility Consultant

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