Having unbiased villagers or Dr. Jim Jetter test Aprovecho’s Lorena stove might have helped to reduce our embarrassment when again and again the open fire was proven to be much more fuel efficient! Inventor’s pride is a well-known human frailty. Creating a truth-telling team including all the folks concerned with a stove project helps to address the inventor who is doing what feels natural and right, but can be misguided. It happens at ARC frequently!
The ARC team has found that an engineer/researcher may know more about the thermodynamics of a stove, but the expertise of cooks, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and funders in the stove project need to be included in the decision making process from start to maturity. Test, test, test!
As Dr. Kirk Smith said, “You get what you inspect, not what you expect”.
Our advice is to test everything frequently from all angles and try to respond to problems without inventor’s pride. It’s not easy! Cognitive dissonance messes up judgement all the time.
It’s easy to think, “I am intelligent, and make good decisions.” Admitting a mistake can threaten that image of self. It can be really hard to hear someone say, “Man, that Lorena stove is terrible! How could you have been so dumb?”
At Apro, we strive to use criticisms as a tool for improvement. Taking time to assess and define the problems, and consulting with our team about how to make improvements, moves us forward towards a more successful outcome.