navigating the unknown
One of these self-styled innovation gurus was at my organisation a couple of days ago. He had this 2 by 2 matrix which every self-styled guru would have at least one version of. In the top left quadrant is the case of "you know what you know", which basically means you are in your knowledge comfort zone. A boring place for the innovation guru. In the bottom left quadrant of "you don't know what you know" is kind of where most cubicle citizens are, hence where most consultants hang around to get paid telling you what you actually know.
Of course, being an innovation guru, he was more interested in the right quadrants. At the top right is where "you know what you don't know" - and in today's context, google and wikipedia supposedly provides a sort of knowledge or content democracy for folks found in this zone.
But what happens when you don't know what you don't know? His answer was that you would start to do some scenario planning, prototyping, environment survey etc. And his conclusion was that radical, paradigm-changing innovation starts from this quadrant of investigation. Instinctively, I doubted his neat categorisation. I mean, if you don't know what you don't know, how will you even know that you don't know something, much less embark on any kind of scenario planning or prototyping or experimentation or...
"a green thought in a green shade", my Marvellian paradise
Y: So tell me J, it's been 2 weeks since you left your job, how has your time been so far?
J: Technically, I am still on my job. My last day is 1st September 2006. That's exactly 8 years since I joined the organisation, not one day more or less.
Y: Lucky you, 8 is supposed to be a good number. Anyway, technicalities aside, you've not had to go to work the past 2 weeks!
J: Time passes so quickly.
Y: Don't try to change the subject.
J: No, it's true. The 1 thing I found out during the past 2 weeks is how fast time flies. There's so much to do, and before I know it, the day is over. Cleaning up the house, running, doing the assignments for class...
Y: So you haven't got time to think too much about what you are going to do next.
J: I don't know yet... maybe it was a mistake, to have quit my job without a concrete plan. After all, it pays pretty well.
J: Everyone who knows will say it's a stupid move to quit. We're really unwise hor?
Y: Well, it depends on whose wisdom is the benchmark...
J: But I've already told myself to stop looking back. Whatever happens next is just going to be a start of something new -
Y: That's right.
At this stage, I guess at least one of us is in that bottom right quadrant (although by definition, who knows?). And for both our sake, for once, I'm actually going to trust that the innovation guru is right!
As a modest start, sweet J made me this soap dish one afternoon with some leftover clay. It's 家物之二, only #2 of his Homely Creatures series. But he promised me more homely creatures in time.
Mr Soapy is helpful, offering to hold a bar of soap and more with his, er, 2 horns. And Mr Ash is both obliging and an ashtray.
SHAMELESS ADVERTISEMENT - Friends, if any of you need some illustration or graphic work done, think of us! To see a portfolio of some commissioned stuff we've done before and if you need some kind of formal quotation first, just email J/TOHA: ampulets at yahoo.com.sg.