The Generalist's Job is to Have Many Known Unknowns

The Unknown
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

–Donald Rumsfeld

I’ve been spending a great deal of time thinking of what makes designers, liberal artists, generalists, different. The specialists always want to argue that we lack any domain of knowledge, but now I’m starting to think that the lack of domain knowledge is ok. The small set of “Known Knowns” is ok, what we lack in knowns, we make up for in an insatiable hunger to know, and the more we know, the more we know we don’t know, you know? As Shunryu Suzuki would call it, we continue to persist with our “Beginner’s Mind.”

March 19, 2009 |