Dr. Adam Tacy PhD, MBA avatar

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What we’re thinking

Phenomeno-what? I’m with you, what a mouthful!

It’s a term we use a lot in the progress economy usually when talking about seeker’s judgements or their positions.

Think of it as the baggage you bring to a decision. All your lived experiences and what you’re experiencing at the decision point. It’s why you might hate something right now, but liked it yesterday. You fickle, wonderful, human being!


Phenomenological refers to our awareness and experience of something rather than the thing itself.

phenomenological: “of or relating to someone’s awareness or experience of something rather than the thing itself”

It captures the quirky and seemingly irrational nature of human decision-making. However, our decisions are not irrational. They are based on our lived experiences and the current circumstances (living experiences) surrounding a decision. It’s a combination of the baggage we bring to the decision and how we perceive the actual decision point.

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Have you ever used those self-checkout terminals at supermarkets? You know, where you scan your items yourself, pay, and then go on your way.

You might find them fine on a rainy Wednesday lunchtime when you only have a couple of items and are in a hurry. But hesitant to use them during your weekly Thursday shopping trip. Perhaps you refuse to use them altogether because you feel the risk of making an error or accidentally shoplifting falls on you. Alternatively, you might be annoyed that the store introduced self-checkouts simply to reduce staff. Interestingly, though, you might be someone who despises self-checkouts in supermarkets but has no issue using them at IKEA.

These views you have are all phenomenological – based on your lived and living experiences. Often unique to you.

Incidentally, these self-checkouts are a prime example of how supermarkets often fail to understand all three elements of progress (functional, non-functional and context). From a supermarket’s perspective, these self-checkouts offer cost savings and they believe streamline the process for customers. Why wouldn’t customers love them? That’s why many supermarkets have replaced manned checkouts with them. If you don’t like them, you may not be alone.

We’ve already seen that progress potential is a phenomenological judgement. And we’ll later see that so are judgements of the progress reached state. As well as judgements of various progress hurdles.

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