Thinking in networks — Human memory and its boundaries

nevaal AG
4 min readMar 30, 2022

The way to a thriving business is anything but linear or obvious. There are so many things to consider, the list is endless. When you think you had everything in mind, another important topic comes up. Then plans need to be reconceptualized, actions modified and staff relocated. Does that sound familiar to you?

But don´t think of yourself as incapable or simple-minded. Quite the opposite is the case. Chances are that you are very qualified, but no matter how educated you are, you are still a human being and unfortunately, our capacities are limited, at least to a certain point. But do not be hopeless or discouraged, there is a tool to get a hold of all the seemingly intangible around you.

Let us start from the very beginning: a common and reasonable way to plan for the future and formulate your strategy has some of the following steps: first of all, you must comprehend your given situation, your means, the environment around you, the knowledge available to you. Once you perceive all the information, it is favorable to understand its implications and store them in your memory for future applications. At a suitable time, the stored information needs to be retrieved in an orderly fashion, to ultimately connect “all the dots” for your next action. And that being said, imagine the difficulties while trying to do everything thoroughly…

Cognitive psychologists Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin proposed a model in 1968 to illustrate the three components of human memory. To make it a little bit more figuratively, imagine it as a USB Stick being connected to your computer. For example, you get a file of important data, all the available information there seems to be of value. But given your current knowledge, you perceive some of them as redundant. Consequently, you only drag onto your USB Stick what appears to be sensible. And there we have the first problem, because of the way we grasp the world around us, we unintentionally lose a lot of information. Since at this point of time we didn’t know what might be important later, our attention was focused on only a small part and dragged it on to our literal “memory” stick (first component, so-called “sensory memory”) and then hopefully to the hard disk (short term memory) or even cloud (long term memory).

So, when you remember that somewhere in your memory (or cloud) is a part of the information you could now use advantageously, another obstacle might just be around the corner. What folder did you save it in? Did it save correctly or did some of the data go missing when unplugging the stick from the hard disk, did you even transfer it? On top of that, your human sensory memory “stick” has limited capacity and can hold information for only a few seconds and the “hard drive” only holds up to about seven meaningful entities at the same time, as famous psychologist George Miller stated in 1956.

And from this point, the transfer from short-term into long-term memory depends on two factors: attention and repetition. Do you know anyone who has those two at reach regularly? But enough of human constraints. Fortunately, in this age of digitalization, we have the opportunity to make use of a broad range of technical support. Let’s consider the possibilities arising from software assistance when fathoming the information flow of your everyday work life.

Why should a person be burdened with knowing every node of their ecosystem? It is such an important factor in being successful that you become aware of all your options within reach and can access them easily and clearly. The nevaal Maps™ software designs an orderly arranged network, with which you wouldn’t miss out on any opportunity, formerly hidden by human imagination and memory. Every member of your network is invited to share their information. The software generates strings when it finds out about similarities between the people. Everything is displayed very intuitively, always at your service, with no need to worry about not finding a certain important hint you didn’t even pay attention to at first.

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