One of the key aspects of being an expert is the capacity to apply situational awareness: the perception of relevant information, comprehension of their meaning and the projection to future events.
Developing this situational awareness is a critical part of problem-solving and is something we want to build in our teams.
There are three major parts:
The ability to perceive important information is a critical first step to being able to problem-solve, and one that takes time to develop especially in the highly complex and demanding environments most of us operate in. Knowing which information is important and have an understanding of the many subtle cues to evaluate is one of the hallmarks of an expert. But even for experts it can be difficult, which is why building perceptual cues in our checklists, procedures and such is important.
From perception we can draw meaning and significance, allowing the expert to combine, interpret, store and retain information. Integrating multiple pieces of information to arrive at a determination of relevance.
Experts are able to project from current events to anticipate future events and their implications.
How do we build situational awareness? How can we accelerate this process?
- Endsley, M.R. (1995). Toward a Theory of Situation Awareness in Dynamic Systems. Human Factors, 37, 32-64
- Gonzalez, C., & Wimisberg, J. (2007). Situation Awareness in Dynamic Decision Making: Effects of Practice and Working Memory. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 1(1), 56–74.