Q & Answers

The Curse of Knowledge: Finding Intuitive Solutions

At Rocksauce, we aren’t doomed with the curse of knowledge. We help our clients no matter what their size and no matter what their problem. We work with them to create really elegant solutions to some problems that just seem insurmountable.  As an outside agency, we can come in and bring a fresh perspective to the problem.

The Curse of Knowledge

The curse of knowledge is this concept in which you know so much about your industry, you know so much about how people do things, that you may not be willing to entertain outside perspectives. This can be a huge problem in guiding innovation efforts. You may not try something that could solve your problem simply because you may not be used to it.

  • I’d love to try that, but that’s just too big.
  • We can’t afford that solution.
  • Yeah, I’d like to try that but last time we did, the boss said no. So let’s not even go down that road.

These are indications that your mind is stuck in a little box. There are a lot of exciting solutions are might be missing because you have the curse of knowledge.

The Obvious Solution

But you’ve got it all figured out, right? I mean, you’re dealing with the problem and if someone would just listen to you, then you’d get it all solved. 

And, honestly, that may be right. You may have the perfect, most obvious solution already. But if you think you know it all before you even start tackling the problem with your team, then you’ll only end up pleasing one user: yourself.

Name one piece of software that has been successful that only has one user. Of course, there aren’t any. No software is ever created with just one user, one person in mind. Many types of people are going to use the software: lots of people with lots of different ways of thinking.

So embrace what you don’t know. Embrace the fact that there is a whole world of perspectives and ways of doing things that you’ve never thought about. Bring new players into the game to help you show you things that haven’t even crossed your mind. 

Use Your Intuition

The best solutions are often found in a natural and intuitive way. This means cutting through a lot of the industry jargon and knowledge. It means allowing your team to be open to solving problems in a new and better way.

Imagine you have the mind of a child, coming in and looking at things for the first time. When a kids sees something new, like scattered blocks on the floor, they don’t know what they’re going to do with them. They just start putting things together. No one has told them, Oh, you can’t do that yet. Or Ah, if you do that then it will fall over. 

They don’t know this stuff. They just play around and see what happens. And if they start stacking blocks directly on top of each other, they’re going to see it crumble quickly. But if they start with a solid foundation, they can build a tower on top. They figure this out quickly and naturally.

No matter how grand your idea seems, it can always be scaled back to the building blocks. But a bad solution, once built, can never turn into a good one; it will never have a solid foundation.

Experiment to Find Solutions

Having a healthy balance of industry experts with fresh perspectives can allow for elegant solutions. The experts in the room will help make sure things don’t go too far off the beaten path while the rest of the team will more intuitively ideate solutions.

Ignorance leads to experimentation and experimentation leads to innovation.

Think about the last time you were asked to do something without training. You had to experiment to figure out the right way to do it. Often times, this kind of experimentation leads to solutions that are even better than if someone had trained you. This is because you found the solution naturally and intuitively, not stuck in a specific box. 

Photo by Carl Borg on Unsplash

This is what experimentation does. Video games are a great example of this. You’re dropped into a world with very few details. Suddenly you’re on a quest to save the princess. Here is your sword. She’s trapped in a castle and there are obstacles blocking the way. You have a sword but no directions. So how will you solve the problem of saving the princess?

You have to experiment. You try one way and then another. The eureka moment happens when you use the tools and resources at your disposable and discover the path forward, and now, the princess is in your sight.

Experimentation is intuitive. It is about going beyond expectations and beyond anticipated boundaries. So, as an expert in your industry, make sure that you aren’t just saying no because you think you have all the answers. There is a problem to solve and an innovation effort to lead, which means you need both the knowledge of your entire team as well as the intuition and experimentation of outsiders. 

Trusting in this process leads to some really great solutions to your biggest problem.

So if you have the curse of knowledge and you need a team to come in and shake things up, give us a call 866.981.6847 or send us a message. At Rocksauce, we want to help you find the best solutions to your biggest problems.

Next Article: What is a Design Sprint? (Part Two)

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