The Known and Unknown Zones

A map is to context as a compass is to direction. It allows you to identify where you are now and where you are going. We use the Studio/E Map in a similar fashion — to help differentiate between the Known Zone, that which we know, and Unknown Zone, that which we need to explore.

The Known Zone is that comfortable place in which the mindset of a Manager wins. You know exactly what to do in order to get a certain result. With expected returns comes optimization, with optimization comes scale, and with scale comes the reinforced evidence that plans, data and metrics are effective. These are good tools to use in the Known Zone.

The above tools are not effective in the Unknown Zone, as this is the zone you spend time in while exploring. Here, you need to tap into the curious and courageous mindset of an Explorer. Because you can’t predict outcomes when you’re facing the ambiguity of the unknown, it’s key to take small actions, learn from those small actions and build upon them based on your learnings – what we call Act-Learn-Build.

Studio/E Mindset Icon

Extra Credit: Make two lists, one labeled Known Zone and the other labeled Unknown Zone.  In each list, write down 2-3 things you are working on that exhibit the characteristics of each zone outlined above. Identify a few other things worth exploring and add those to your Unknown Zone list. What does this awareness bring you?

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