The scientific method has fundamentally altered our understanding of the world. Yet, few areas of business have truly adopted scientific knowledge and processes into their strategy or operations. Those who have – pharmaceuticals, engineering firms, technology companies, etc. – have done exceedingly well in general. So what about the rest of the business world? Why have they not taken this step forward?
There are many potential answers to this question. Firstly, it is complex. Not only are most people not truly educated in the various realms of scientific knowledge, but it can be complex and time-consuming to stay up to date with the ever-marching progress of the community.
At the core of the scientific method is data and experimentation. Scientific thinkers decide on a problem, devise one or many hypotheses, then conduct tests and collect information that demonstrably and repeatably prove or disprove their hypotheses. It requires humility, willingness to be wrong, and a lot of laborious data collection and analysis. However, the end result is an understanding of the workings of the world that is far more clear or useful than any system before it. This root process – determine a problem, come up with potential solutions, test, conclude – is relatively simple and can be applied to business in myriad ways.
Furthermore, there are seas of already discovered knowledge that are underutilized by most of the commercial community. There are an estimated 30,000,000 scientific publications available, and over 2,000,000 new papers are published per year. Each of which contains a tested, proven, falsifiable truth about a real world phenomenon – when was the last time you looked in an academic database for your information?
To summarize, the business community is not using enough scientific knowledge in its decision making. This may be because it is complex, or people are ‘using their gut’, or even simply because people do not know about this informational gold mine. Regardless, it is about time the business community starts using ecological and other scientific information in decision making.