Hedgehog and the Fox

Please Reserve Value Judgements!

\( fox \neq hedgehog \)

\( value(fox) = value(hedgehog) \)

Archilochus

680 BC - 645 BC

the fox knows many things; but the hedgehog one big thing

  • Plato, Hegel
  • See the world through a single unifying vision
  • Construct elaborate models
  • Global Beliefs
  • Problem Approach = apply organizing principles and theories.
  • Aristotle, Shakespeare 
  • See the world as complex and chaotic
  • Comfortable with nuance and contradictions
  • Local Beliefs
  • Problems Approach = Observation and Data Collection

2 Distinct Cognitive Styles

  • Foxes are fragmented and unorganized
  • Foxes are contradictory.
  • Foxes overcomplicate things.
  • Look, fox, just trust the process.
  • Hedgehogs can't deal with nuance. 
  • Hedgehogs are Draconian.
  • Hedgehogs are simplistic thinkers.
  • Look, hedgehog, the answer depends on the context.

Common Critiques 

  • Watts Humphrey
  • Kent Beck
  • Eric Ries
  • Fred Brooks
  • Steve McConnell
  • Donald Knuth

Famous Industry Examples

  • Be sensitive to cognitive styles
  • Foxes want localized data
    • Data supporting THIS specific context
    • Prototypes
  • Hedgehogs want globalized models
    • Explain Underlying Theory
    • Presentations

Coaching Takeaway

Hedgehog And The Fox

By Dale Alleshouse

Hedgehog And The Fox

Sagely Retreat Lighting Talk

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