Get an email when we
write a new blog post

By clicking the button you agree
to ourterms & conditions

How "shared care" is like a ticking time-bomb...

By Dr. Colin Coulthard |


Imagine for a minute that there was a ticking time bomb that needed defusing. It’s just like in the movies, a jumble of wires, some sticks of dynamite, and a rather obvious digital countdown on the side of it. It’s ticking ominously closer to zero. If you defuse it in the wrong way, the bomb goes off.

Now imagine, that you have an expert who knows how to safely defuse this bomb. The expert does this regularly, many times a day, and knows what to do like she knows the back of her hand.

So my question to you is this. If you were locked in the room with this bomb, how would you want it to be defused?

Option A

This is where the expert walks into the room, swiftly snips a few wires (usually the red one in the films) and safely defuses the bomb.

Option B

The expert employs a skilled technician. The technician’s skills lie elsewhere in maintaining electronic circuits. This technician has very little experience of specific types of bomb but knows something about bombs in general. The expert has sent the technician detailed instructions about this type of bomb and how to defuse it. The instructions are quite long and detailed, and take a large amount of time to read and understand. The technician also has many other sets of instructions that she needs to read. The expert guides the technician by shouting instructions to her, and the technician sends pictures of her progress in defusing the bomb back to the expert. The expert then uses these pictures to decide on the next step. She then shouts more instructions back to the technician. This process is repeated until either the bomb is safely defused, or everything goes BOOM!

Oh, and the technician has five other bombs that are similar but different to defuse at the same time. Each separate bomb needing different instructions from different experts simultaneously.

Read ➞