In How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom, former world chess champion Gary Kasparov discusses the challenges of solving “puzzles”:
Knowing a solution is at hand is a huge advantage; it’s like not having a “none of the above” option. Anyone with reasonable competence and adequate resources can solve a puzzle when it is presented as something to be solved. We can skip the subtle evaluations and move directly to plugging in possible solutions until we hit upon a promising one. Uncertainty is far more challenging. Instead of immediately looking for solutions to the crisis, we have to maintain a constant state of asking, “Is there a crisis forming?”
This is the future work. As Harold Jarche mentions in his recent post A Linchpin Culture (in which he discusses Seth Godin‘s latest book):
The work that we will be paid for is the difficult, innovative, one of a kind, creative stuff…. We will be facing more complexity and chaos in our work. There are fewer easy answers, easy jobs with good pay, or simple ways to keep a job for life.
Solving a puzzle that you know has a solution may require knowledge, but it is knowledge that already exists. Figuring out if there is a solution to a problem, or even if there is a problem at all, requires the manipulation of existing knowledge, the gathering of new knowledge / information, and the creation of something new.
In other words, it requires art.
One thought on “Uncertainty is far more challenging”
Gregory Treverton makes the distinction between puzzles and mysteries. I have some examples on my blog http://demandingchange.blogspot.com/2010/01/puzzles-and-mysteries.html
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