You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
June 8, 2011 § Leave a comment
You don’t know what you don’t know; never was there a truer sentence ever spoken. The question is, knowing we don’t know everything, what’s the best way to learn more?
The answer is ironically obvious: look outside. I’m not talking about some existential vantage point, I mean literally, look outside. Step away from your desk and do something, see something, read something or listen to something that has nothing to do with your work. Do something that has nothing to do with what you know.
Most of us stay in our industry to help us be better at what we do. We read our own industry’s trades, we attend our own industry’s conferences, we talk to others from our industry and we take classes offered by “experts” from the inside. Though we may learn bits and pieces this way, we can never learn to innovate and solve problems or think in new ways like this. To truly think differently, we need to look way outside our own industries. If we see and learn how others solve problems, we can adapt and apply the same lessons to our own work. Read about the Cuban missile crisis and we may learn how to get ourselves out of a sticky situation. Watch a documentary about origamii and we may learn to see things a little differently. This is where innovation comes from.
Innovation comes from solving ideas like no one else in our industry…but those ideas have to come from somewhere…somewhere outside.