The Five Monkeys Experiment (with a new lesson)

I can say I’ve felt like a monkey sometimes during my career…

John Stepper

Consider yourself lucky if you ever get the opportunity to hear Eddie Obeng give a talk.

The 5 Monkeys ExpermentMy first introduction to him was a video of his TED talk on “Smart failure for a fast-changing world”. This week at JiveWorld, he gave the keynote speech. With passion and some unorthodox presentation techniques, he walked us a through a range of practical insights about human beings and ways to change behavior. Everyone loved it.

At the end, he closed with a story about five monkeys that captures the state of things in most organizations and that provides hope, indirectly, for how we can make things better.

The Five Monkeys Experiment

An experimenter puts 5 monkeys in a large cage. High up at the top of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, is a bunch of bananas. Underneath the bananas is a ladder.

The monkeys immediately spot the bananas…

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