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The Myth of Starting with the End in Mind…How Innovation Emerges from Embracing the Unknown.

Do you like to start projects with a clear end goal and have a blueprint guiding you smoothly towards the finish line? That's what we've been taught to do to achieve project success, and yet it might be leading us firmly down a sub-optimal path.

I noticed that this is especially true for adaptation and resilience planning.

In reality, when you're charting new territory and creating something new (an increasingly common occurence!), holding a fixed end goal is like navigating the Amazon with a map of Manhattan. It’s just the wrong map.

When the problems are new or the conditions are changing, clinging to preconceived notions about our destination confines us to a narrow path on the journey. We obsess over the ideal solution, striving for optimization, and have little patience with anything that doesn't get us to the destination efficiently. But embracing the unknown is the only way to gain useful insight, when we allow ourselves to delve deeper into evolving challenges and discover new opportunities.

This isn't a call to abandon project planning. This is an urge to arm ourselves with another approach, to allow the end to remain less than fully defined as we journey. Within the unknowns and ambiguity encountered, we will find the very catalysts to unlock true innovation and deliver beyond expectations.

So, the next time you're prepping for a project, put down the road map once in a while and pick up the compass instead. Navigate through uncertainty, and let your understanding of challenges to guide you, and let the solutions surprise you.

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