Signal And Noise
When you stop to think about it, it’s awe-inspiring how much information we have access to at any given moment. It comes to us passively through alerts and messages sent to our devices and actively when we search for specific information online or in printed resources.
But with access comes abundance. I love the ability to type any question into a search engine to find the answer. The problem is, there could be hundreds or thousands of results returned. Some of that information can come from fake news sites or content marketing, requiring us to spend more time deciding what to listen to and what to ignore—a task that can feel daunting and unmanageable at times.
I think one of the most fundamental problems we face today is learning how to separate out the signal from the noise in order to find the information that provides us the answers we need, and helps us see the patterns we should be paying attention to in order to navigate our way through complex issues. Noise tends to be very loud and demanding of attention, whereas signals tend to be understated and quiet. Of course, after the fact, it’s always easy to look back and see what we might have missed; but in the moment, it takes a concerted effort and a quiet mind to see and hear what’s most relevant.
The good news is there are a lot of people out there producing resources that will help you separate the noise from the signals, including The Center for Health Design. Under the header “Insights and Solutions” on our website, you’ll find research reports and issue briefs, interviews, case studies, design strategies, key point summaries, and webinars, all focused on improving healthcare environments. We also take a systematic approach to selecting programs offered through the Healthcare Design Expo and Conference each year, providing you with the chance to learn from industry leaders about challenges facing the industry today and in the future.
Successful leaders train themselves to recognize signal and not jump at the noise. This skill is innate for some, but for most of us it takes great practice and introspection. By turning to available industry resources, you can be better equipped to make a measurable difference in the safety, health, and satisfaction of the staff, patients, and families that inhabit the environments you help create.
Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for Health Design. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.