Not Knowing Is Good

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I’ll start this with a generalisation: people like the status quo.

I don’t have any stats to back that up, but I’m sure I can find some numbers to shore up this claim if you push me hard enough on it. Based on my own experience of working with people, agencies and businesses, they like to do what they’ve always done because it worked and, heck, it’ll continue to work.

So when someone buys a service, they naturally expect it to work. No one – especially businesses and their finance departments – like to hear the phrase: I don’t know, but I’d like you to pay me to find out.

It’s a tough sell. I know from first-hand experience.

The thing is, I’d also bet that a similar percentage of businesses want to do something innovative, something different. Yet they are using the same processes and tools they have always used to attempt this.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I don’t know who said that, as it’s attributed to Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and any number of others. But whoever said it first, it’s true for those organisations who both love their rigid processes and yet who want to do things differently.

There are two ways to really transform something: make/do it using an entirely different process, or removing some or all of the original process. Both of these involve discovery. And it’s this that is at the crux of the way I like to work.

By setting out with no preconceived ideas of what will happen, we discover new things. We learn. We find out what works, and what doesn’t – the latter being the right kind of failure.

The concept of finding out something isn’t about setting off without a clear idea of what we might want to test for, discover or even make. Instead, there is usually a clear idea of what is required as a result and then it’s about testing any number of hypotheses so that the right answer can be arrived at.

It’s just worth remembering that the answer arrived at might not be the one you expect. Because insanity can also be defined as exploring new ways of doing things and getting the result you expect.

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