The importance of instant feedback 08 May 2006
8 comments Latest by Vlad Stanescu
The instant feedback loop that’s built into Getting Real is one of the big reasons it succeeds. Instead of waiting months/years to find out if an idea is working, you get a meaningful response back right away. That means you can constantly learn and improve as you go along.
The Freakanomics boys latest piece, A Star Is Made, offers some scientific support for this notion. It explains that immediate feedback is a key element to exceptional performance, whether you’re a doctor, athlete, or programmer.
For example, most doctors actually perform worse the longer they are out of medical school due, in large part, to the increased lag time between making a decision and being able to judge its impact.
When a doctor reads a mammogram, she doesn’t know for certain if there is breast cancer or not. She will be able to know only weeks later, from a biopsy, or years later, when no cancer develops. Without meaningful feedback, a doctor’s ability actually deteriorates over time. Ericsson suggests a new mode of training. “Imagine a situation where a doctor could diagnose mammograms from old cases and immediately get feedback of the correct diagnosis for each case,” he says. “Working in such a learning environment, a doctor might see more different cancers in one day than in a couple of years of normal practice.”