The Black Box Theory

A Tool for Insight

The Black Box Theory – A Tool To Gain Insight

The Black Box Theory, in case you were wondering has nothing to do with the “Black Box” of an airplane. For airplane Black Box see Flight Recorder. The Black Box Theory is an abstract concept of black box systems according to Wikipedia, but in reality can be used for business and processes insights, as well as many life situations.

The Black Box theory describes any system or situation where the (internal) workings are not known and where output is both driven by input variables, uncontrolled outside variables and the inner workings of a system in its broadest form.

For instance, a computer is a “black box”.  The input could be the “H” on the keyboard. In this case the output should be an “H” on your computer screen, right? That is, if the “Black Box” computer processor and everything within the computer, the motherboard, the electrical connections, mechanical connections and connections between the processor, the keyboard and the screen, are working as they should. We can call a computer a “Black Box” because most of us don’t really know what’s going on inside a computer.

The human brain is also a perfect example of a black box. Despite the enormous amount of progress science has made in finding out what’s going on in a human brain we are still not even close to finding out what goes on in that “Black Box” of a brain of ours. It is remarkable that with humans’ input, like food and drinks as well as exercise and other input, the brain can send signals to move a hand or other limb simply with a thought emanating from the brain. Of course if we don’t eat and drink, we will die. If we eat the wrong food, i.e. receive the wrong input we would most likely not feel well or get sick. The Black Box Theory at work.

In this day and age the biggest example of “The Black Box Theory” is the Internet, the World Wide Web. Most of us don’t really know what’s going on in “The Cloud”, i.e. on the internet. We create input, i.e. pages online, add more input, i.e. advertising and product offerings to generate our preferred output, being traffic to our site, signups for our newsletters or the ultimate output, a sale of our product.

To monitor whether our input(s) results in the required output we use Analytics like Google Analytics. If we don’t like the output, measured against a benchmark, we change our input. In the medium term to long term, the key is to document your findings and “map” it so that you are able to create a virtual model, map of the input, the output and by deduction what is or may be going on in the “Black Box”.

People with years of experience, aided by certain skill sets have this “mental framework” in their mind. They have done a lot of trial and error scenarios whether in a company, whether on the internet or whether in life as a whole. The true value of talking to skilled AND experienced entrepreneurs who have been there and done that, is because they know more which input generates what output than a rookie with more skills but less experience.

If you’d like to know more about “The Black Box Theory” or get a free review of your idea or business plan, contact us. It’s Free!

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