Unintended Consequences: How to Expect the Unexpected...
I'm writing up some notes for a meeting later this month on creating social impact. One of the things we'll be encouraging participants to do is to not wait until they think they know everything before they start.
We can never predict everything and understanding that fact helps us find the balance between procrastination and action (without being an idiot!).
Everything we do has unintended consequences and, yet, sometimes we forget this, or we want to plan everything out before we start. Or we become depressed or crestfallen when things don’t work out the way we expected.
It's impossible for us to know what's around the corner and it's impossible for us to know how our creations will be used and which pieces of them will work as we expected and which pieces don't.
Like software, if we put something into the world without waiting for perfection, we're more likely to get feedback.
…Are to be Expected!
I’m not saying go ahead and be an idiot just because you can do things that might have an explosive or otherwise detrimental reaction.
I am saying be aware that you’ll reach a point where you think you’ve got things covered, a point of proportionate preparation. That’s the moment to go ahead with whatever you’re planning, t not hold back, but do it with an openness and curiosity about what really might happen, and a humility about the fact that there is always something that might jump up and surprise you.
If we hold ourselves and our opinions about our creations more lightly and less personally, then we're more likely to be curious and not take an unintended consequence as a mark of failure, simple as an observation, a reason to say.
Oh well, that didn't work out the way I expected! What can we do about it?
Maybe then we’d be more likely to put things into the world, rather than holding them in our hearts and minds?