On the importance of ignorance

When we’re at work, we place so much emphasis on knowing the right combinations of information. It is tiring, and leaves very limited room for open learning. And then there is mastery, of complete knowledge and flawless skill. Why do we fear facing up to our ignorance as individuals, teams and organizations? We fear it may leave us vulnerable to poor choices, loosing face, loosing place, endangering autonomy, dissolution.

But isn’t that a crucial part of growth mindset? Growth mindset stays open- to new information, and new ways of approaching the same challenge. As a UX Researcher on my teams, I value my ability to stay ignorant enough to ask the right questions.

(If you’re going to continue reading my future articles, I should warn you, I love organizing ideas into diagrams, they help me see my thoughts more clearly and fair warning- I can draw one for just about anything!). Here’s my visualization of ignorance and it’s place in the journey to knowledge.

Stages of information

What if we were to reframe ignorance as the first nudge towards asking, finding, learning and evolving? Without ignorance, the first questions would never be asked. It is a strange thing to celebrate and call attention to, in the day of instant information and penny a pound experts on everything, but cherishing it, protecting it and exercising it can mean learning to create new knowledge, one insight at a time.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Nibha Jain’s story.