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What Is a Professional Co-development?

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A drunk man having lost his keys, was looking for them under a streetlight. A policeman tries to help him and, after a while, asks if he is sure he lost them there. “No, I lost them in the park,” the drunkard replies. “Then why are we looking for them here?” asks the policeman. “Because here is where the light is,” answers the man.

This old joke refers to the human propensity to look for something only where the search is easiest or within available data. It’s also known in cognitive sciences as observational bias, or more simply as the streetlight effect.  Finally, the joke is also used in Paul Watzlawick’s book “The Situation is Hopeless but Not Serious – The Pursuit of Unhappiness.” as one of the 4 games we play with the past, the lost key, or “the more of the same” chapter (highly recommended  book by the way). 

Streetlight effect, commonly used to explain errors in scientific research, is very useful to describe an individual human’s limits in problem-solving in everyday professional life. We are all turning around in our heads, trying to search for the solutions of our problems, but we’re losing ourselves in our world views, solution attempts and cognitive biases. We often need others to hear us, so we can hear ourselves, so we can think differently about the situation in order to act more efficiently.  

The co-development method helps people get the insight about these blind spots and help them enlighten themselves. But more than just helping people find new possibilities for solving or unblocking the problematic situations, the ultimate objective of co-development is above all the learningthe collective learning. 

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