When are you most productive: when you’re new at something and trying to figure it out? Or when you’re so experienced at it that you can do it in your sleep? In the sense that there’s an upside and a downside to everything, maybe you can argue for either side of the question. But I think most of us would say that we’re most productive, we can get the most accomplished, when we really know what we’re doing and we can efficiently move through the process of getting it done. I think most of us would agree that the further along we are on the experience curve the better.
In another interesting observation from Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, Dan Wieden, cofounder of Wieden + Kennedy, argues for the upside of inexperience…or at least the ability to see things from the fresh perspective of one who doesn’t know it all already. In fact, there is an intentional effort "to appreciate the power of the inexperience curve–the idea that the more you do something, the more important it is to challenge the assumptions and habits that built your success so as to generate a wave of innovations to build the future (p. 111)."
The question is, how can we maintain our ability to see what we’re doing from that perspective? Is there an annual check up or a 50,000 mile service that will restore our ability to see things with the eyes of one who is new? At a minimum the answer probably centers on an intentional effort to challenge assumptions and habits. How would that happen? The starting point is the simple expectation that we will ask "is that simply an assumption and is that assumption still true?" If we start with an openess to genuine consideration of alternative possibilities we can maintain a fresher perspective and realize the upside of inexperience.
What do you think? Willing to try it? For an additional take check out Walk in Stupid Every Day