Every problem we face feels like a maze. In the search for solutions, we constantly hit dead ends. This is especially true with more complex problems with no ‘discovered’ solutions.
New businesses, start-ups, product development, strategy, corporate culture are all problems without blueprints. We understand the principles that help us to navigate the maze, but we still don’t know what our unique maze looks like.
Successful navigation of these mazes requires two invaluable skills.
- A great memory. We would save plenty of time if we could memorize the entire maze by navigating it only once. Practically, this requires a process of validated learning. We need to define assumptions regarding the problem we face and design experiments that tests these assumptions. Unvalidated assumptions must be investigated, adjusted and retested. This gets us further down the maze instead of repeat visits to the same dead end.
- Speed. We want to cover the maze as quickly as possible. If we only need to run it once, the faster we do so, the faster we get out, solve the problem, achieve the outcome. Running requires short feedback loops. We cover distance faster when we get the results in quickly. Our experiments should be designed for short bursts over small timeframes to allow for micro adjustments and retests. Time is not on our side. The maze is evolving.
It only works when we do both.