Ignorance is NOT Bliss

I attended a great event with John Lloyd, Producer of Blackadder, Not the Nine o’Clock News, Spitting Image and co-author of 1227 QI facts at the RSA a few weeks back.  John’s talk was entitled “General Ignorance – It’s all about what you don’t know”.  John and I had a pleasant conversation afterwards as it turned out that I was the 3rd Peter Cook he has met, having of course been good friends with the comic genius during his Perrin Walk years in Hampstead.  Click on the image to listen to the full RSA event.

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Uncertainty bedevils business decisions and all innovation projects, since they are all about the future.  We all know that “the past ain’t what it used to be” and our algorithms for making decisions based on the past are pretty near redundant.  We need better routines to handle decisions about the future these days.  However, I’m pretty certain (sic) that uncertainty in business breaks down into two dimensions – uncertainty over the destination and uncertainty over the journey:

Wicked problems

Smart leaders know that different strategies are required to deal with the different ‘zones’ of uncertainly.  For more on this topic read ‘Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll‘.  These include:

Zone 3 – Finding a genuinely shared, potent and viable VISION

Zone 2 – Identifying ingenious and hard to copy strategies through PRACTICAL CREATIVITY and IMPROVISATION

Zone 1 – Asking an expert or someone who knows (often overlooked in favour of a strategy summit! 🙂 )

Zone 4 – Unpicking complex and conflicting issues where uncertainty is a constant – or SWAMP DRAINING

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for re great decisions or innovation, get in touch.  If you have, feel free to enjoy Bono’s anthem on uncertainty:

Coming on 31 1 13 the new book “The Music of Business” with whole sections on strategy and change.  I can hardly believe my luck in getting the quote below from Harvey Goldsmith.  “The Music of Business” is available to order at AMAZON.CO.UKAMAZON.COM, and KINDLE with special discounts on 31 1 13.  To sample the book have a look at a sneak preview via a SLIDESHARE presentation or visit the book WEBSITE.

The Music of Business - launch date 31 1 13

The Music of Business – launch date 31 1 13


8 responses to “Ignorance is NOT Bliss

  1. Interesting! Some valid points there, just as valid for individuals and huge businesses. Big business, for example, often make strategic decisions without feedback from the coal face, i.e the staff who actually hear what the customers think. That’s a mistake made over and over, and then the executives keep wondering ‘what are we looking for?’
    Cheers, Gordon


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