What Do You Know?

My role requires me to spend a good deal of time thinking about what I don’t know, which is more fun than it may sound. I investigate new tools which have the potential to be used with our communities to uncover members’ insights in new ways. This exposes me to a world of innovative developers, apps and ideas that are constantly changing to keep up with the increasingly technology-centric consumer, which I think is pretty damn cool.

Learning to think about problems and potential solutions in entirely new ways has been both exciting and humbling. Our innovative process has made me more and more aware of what I don’t know—converting “unknown unknowns” into “known unknowns.”

In other words, realizing the full extent of my ignorance on a subject, learning as much as I reasonably can, then coming to terms with what areas I’ll never be an expert on (for instance, understanding Flash or  becoming a professional tap dancer with infinite other areas of expertise—is just not going to happen for me). After all, how terrible would it be to never try to play a musical instrument just because you’ve never had formal lessons?

While I think about new ways to uncover insights from our members, I have been thinking about how our clients can uncover their unknowns, and challenge established assumptions. In learning to identify opportunities for new tools and techniques, we often start with the question, “Is it possible to…?” Very rarely the answer is “no.” (Though when it is, how fascinating!) Along the way, however, I have learned how important it is to give the unknown a try.