In-house Incites: Monkey See Monkey Don’t

Ever notice how when you’re stuck in traffic and someone in front of you changes lanes you do too regardless of whether the lane they’re moving into shows any signs of moving faster than yours. There’s something about the way that we’re wired as human beings that triggers us to follow the lead of an individual, or especially a crowd, independent of any logic or rationale. Maybe this was a survival behavior when humans traveled in packs in a hostile environment and needed to unquestioningly rely on the reactions of others as a way of responding to dangers they were too far away from to notice.

Whatever the reason for this behavior, it doesn’t serve creatives well when they walk into a corporate environment where dysfunctional behaviors abound for no other reason than someone started acting a certain way and others followed because their lemming brains were jumpstarted.

It’s critical, if designers are to fulfill their personal and professional purpose that they resist and actively call out robotic behaviors, cultures, policies, procedures and beliefs. If not challenged, the corporate monkey see monkey do mindset will prevail and there will be no opportunity for objective, innovative and rational thinking to prevail.


2 thoughts on “In-house Incites: Monkey See Monkey Don’t

  1. msr

    It’s because we’re animals. Pack animals always do this. Notice how one deer gets spooked and all of them follow. Same with horses, stampeding buffalo, etc. I think people too often forget that humans are animals and think we’re special.

    In any case, I think you’re right and it doesn’t just apply to corporate designers, it applies to all creatives in general.

  2. Bob Calvano

    Hey Andy,

    I’ve noticed recently how corporate policy and process can be the origin of robotic behavior. I am trying to get my internal organization listed in a “How To Buy Guide” so folks will know we exist within a massive corporation and that they can use our internal design services instead of going to external vendors. The problem: internal organizations are not listed in the “how to buy guides.” Why not? you ask… Well, procurement tells the people who create the guides what external vendors need to be listed in the guide, my organization is not an external vendor that is on procurement’s preferred vendor list and no one knows what the process is to list an internal organization. Say this in a robot voice… “Does Not Compute, we don’t have a process for this.” Oy.