The thing is, it no longer takes research or even much insight to recognize useful tools or credible change drivers. We can replace "Aha!" moments with mental shortcuts, and the way we find information provides cues about people's intelligence and authority. For instance, if X colleague and Y scientist reference Z person's idea, and we think X and Y are smart, we'll probably think Z is smart and the idea holds water.
Reminds me of a joke I read (can't remember the source, but I'm leaning towards the Sun) about Rob Ford.
A Toronto-based scientist is visiting his uncle, a farmer who lives up around Orangeville sometime during Rob Ford's turn as Mayor. Over a beer on the front porch, conversation turns to the embattled mayor. The scientist speaks to the problems Ford's simplistic policy is causing the city, the relationship between government and agencies, the reputation damage Toronto is taking around the world. He throws up his hands in frustration.
"But he was elected" the nephew says.
"He's a bit like a post toad," the uncle says.
"A post toad? What's that?" the scientist asks.
"Picture this," uncle says, setting his can down and leaning in towards his nephew. "You're driving along the road here, and you see a turtle balanced on top of a post. You don't know what he's doing up there. The turtle doesn't know what he's doing up there. What you do know is that he sure didn't get up there by himself.. That's your Rob Ford - a post turtle."
The scientist smiles; he can always count on his uncle to tell it plain.
What makes this a great joke to tell on a campaign trail?
The scientist represent reason, logic, evidence-based decision making. He's the kind of expert voice you're supposed to trust to get the facts right and understand the technicalities of any given situation.
The uncle is Good Old Common Sense - non-urban, educated in the school of hard-knocks, speaking in truisms and parables. You trust him because he's a man of the earth, and you understand him because he tells it plain.
When you have a scientist and a farmer agreeing, you've got your X colleague and Y scientist covered.
Thing is, this is a formula, and formulas can be manipulated. We see this happening all the time in political ads - the "common man" and the Bay Street Interviewer both agree Trudeau is "not ready," So you should feel the same way, right? That's all the focus group you need to feel comfortable with the message.
We're all a bit like the post turtle - including those who thing they have it all figured out.