In a world where predictability and control are often valued above all else, expressing uncertainty is hard. It is viewed by the majority of our society as a sign of weakness, lack of knowledge, or indecisiveness. Especially leaders and decision-makers are under a big pressure toward having answers and being confident and in control. Expressing uncertainty can also make us vulnerable to criticism or misunderstanding, and can negatively impact our credibility or reputation. Certainty is much simpler and more comfortable. Certainty makes us feel smart and competent. Certainty makes us stay in the easily comprehensible black and white world.
Perhaps the most robust finding in the psychology of judgement is that people are overconfident.
At the same time we live in a world of the rapid pace of technological, economic, societal and cultural changes. More than ever we need the ability to function in circumstances where we can’t rely on previous knowledge and experience, in circumstances where we don’t have enough information, and at times where the framework for making a decision is not entirely clear.
If we can not culturally afford to be openly uncertain, it prevents us from being transparent, cooperating with each other, and setting realistic expectations. Acknowledging uncertainty encourages exploration of different possibilities, helps us navigate through challenging questions and make the best decision possible. We believe that it is important for all individuals, companies, organizations and the world at large to be able to embrace uncertainty as a powerful force. A first step toward that is making it easy for anyone to express uncertainty.
We teach our children the mathematics of certainty—geometry and trigonometry—but not the mathematics of uncertainty, statistical thinking. [...] Even experts, shockingly, are not trained how to communicate risks to the public in an understandable way.
This is the reason why we have established Confido (Latin for with trust). We want to support all those who want to resist the cultural and personal temptation of a black and white view of the world, who bravely face uncertainty and turn it to the advantage of themselves and their circle of concern.
As a first step we provide a free web-based tool for open communication of uncertainty to all kinds of groups and organizations in order to improve their collaboration and strategic decision-making. We plan to add more capabilities to promote the power of uncertainty in the future.