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Devil's Advocate

A Professional "No" Man
  [vote for,

I propose an independent service to provide adversarial analysis of projects. The service would act as a sort of Devil's Advocate, vetting proposals for the specific purpose of finding what's wrong with them.

This service could be used by business, government, or any organizations or individuals with projects that need in depth, critical review. Since such things as group think, common assumptions, and (unstated) pressures can lead to unwise decision making, the presence of a person who's job it is to shoot down every idea could help balance biases inherent in many decision making environments.

Edit: Analogous to sophocles's remark, who audits the auditor? Who appraises the appraisor? Good question. When a market study was submitted to me for a large project, my first thought was, "How many times has this consultant been fired for giving unfavorable reviews." I have no insight and will welcome any offered.

Edit: Re: Scout's question. No, I don't think the devil's advocate should be responsible for coming up w/ alternative ideas. One reason is that a well-honed B.S. detector is valuable per se, and not necessarily associated with the ablility to come up w/ new ideas. Another reason is that I don't want the d.a. to become associated with selling something.

I see the position as a sort of hurdle; an independent process designed to apply an efficient B.S. detector.

And, it would be nice if this made jobs at HB...I sometimes think it'd be the only thing I'd be good at.

js_africanus, Jun 20 2005

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       I think you're completely wrong. +   

       I was about to argue that this is one of the media's jobs, but actually it isn't, not as such.
moomintroll, Jun 20 2005

       Years ago, a management consultant told me in general, they were only brought in when the CEO was wrong, and none of the in-house people wanted to tell him/her that.
DrCurry, Jun 20 2005

       Are you trying to get jobs for the folks at HB?
Soterios, Jun 20 2005

       What if the business decided to hire the devil's advocate service? Would they need to hire another devil's advocate to make sure it's a good decision to hire the first? And if so, shouldn't they vet that decision by hiring a 3rd devil's advocate?   

       And, hiring these guys should be very cheap, as such advice is usually gladly offered.
sophocles, Jun 20 2005

       What if you are already surrounded by these types? I guess there is some revenue to be had here via "Rent-A-Luddite"
crater, Jun 20 2005

       Inspired idea, could also have an extra service whereby you could hire them as a suprise to appear at a bosses retirement party and argue that he had actually achieved nothing in his time with the company.   

Germanicus, Jun 21 2005

       It's nice but I see many problems...+
sartep, Jun 21 2005

       "A friend of the devil is a friend of mine" -- Grateful Dead.
reensure, Jun 21 2005

       //vetting proposals for the specific purpose of finding what's wrong with them.//   

       Baked. Its called 'The Workers'.   

       During Coffee Brake   

       P.s.: This is most commonly found in a top-down company
Susan, Jun 21 2005


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