Known vs. Unknown Zone: the Studio/E Map Part 3

Part 3 in a 3-part series

In Known vs. Unknown Zones: the Studio/E Map Part 2, we learned the characteristics of the Known Zone, the tools to use within it and the outcomes to expect while operating there. In the final part of this series on the Studio/E Map, we will explore the Unknown Zone.

The Unknown Zone

Studio/E Map

The Unknown Zone occupies the right two-thirds of the Studio/E Map above. It is the space adorned with topography — a nod to the ups and downs of navigating unfamiliar territory.

Because you can’t predict outcomes when you’re facing the ambiguity of the Unknown Zone, it’s key to take small actions, learn from those small actions and build upon them based on your learnings. Called Act-Learn-Build, this is the Studio/E Method, which you can see in the center of the Map.

The following will help you find success while spending time in the unknown:


We believe your Mindset is one of the most powerful tools, and it is completely controlled by you. The Mindset required in order to be successful in the Unknown Zone is that of an explorer. As opposed to the Mindset of a manager, an explorer’s Mindset is driven by curiosity and collaboration, and prefers asking questions to seeking answers.


Success in the Unknown Zone is less easy to quantify. Instead of measuring ROI like in the Known Zone, here we measure the tuition invested (paying to learn is tuition, right?), and consider momentum made instead of performance to budget. You may be taking smaller steps here in the Unknown Zone, but small steps add up to great adventures.


In this zone, we don’t focus so much on winning or losing as we do on discovering possibility. Being agile, relevant and open to experimentation will get you much farther when in this zone than trying to scale or optimize based on past performance, like in the Known Zone.

It can be intimidating to spend time in this space, and operating here doesn’t come naturally to everyone. A lack of clarity gives rise to questions, but by prepping yourself with the right tools, you can open yourself up to discovering more possibility.

Read Part 1 (how to know which zone you’re in) and Part 2 (tools, metrics and outcomes of the Known Zone) of this series on the Studio/E Map.

Studio/E Mindset Icon

Do This: Thinking about the tools, metrics and outcomes covered above, when in your life are you in the Unknown Zone? For example, when do you find yourself using the Mindset of an explorer? When do you measure the tuition invested for your learnings?

Cover photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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