The importance of Ignorance

In an ideal world of certitudes, all is known: the addition of two plus two is always four, there aren’t any surprises, the same type of input through a process will always drive to the same output. In this world, ignorance doesn’t have any value.

But it turns out, that the addition of two plus two is four most of the time. It turns out that unexpected situations and accidents happen, and we deal with uncertain and fast-changing scenarios. Occasionally, it’s clear what happened, but there are few times we just don’t know. How we deal with this ignorance could be an asset.

Nowadays, Ignorance is a key asset devaluated. In the corporate world, everybody speaks about what know, and hide what don’t know. But, it is from our ignorance that questions come to be asked. What we don’t know, what we don’t understand, our why’s, what’s and how’s are key to improve and innovate.

We all need to know lots of things to be successful at our job. But knowing lots of things, although necessary, is certainly not sufficient to help us to move forward. Questions are far more interesting than answers.

Questions can bring future opportunities and open brand-new scenarios. Even challenging questions can be framed in ways that help get past cultural or political barriers. Focusing our energy on the right question can make the difference between incremental improvement and breakthrough innovation.

In a fast-moving world, when everything is taken into consideration what is important is what questions did you bring to the table. The questions we ask, draw the path we follow.

Organizations that encourage questions among their employees move faster.