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“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.”
The words of former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have been quoted many times in many situations but they still ring true time and time again in everyday life. Take our understanding of the universe for example. From an absolute belief that we were unique, that the world was flat and that the sun revolved around it we have changed our ideas with every new scientific discovery. Recent events have shown that water existed on mars, that asteroids may have carried the seeds of life and that a planet 130 light years from earth possesses water.
So we should never assume that our ideas, our understanding of the way things are is static and unchanging. Even something as fundamental as company culture is constantly evolving under the influence of people, technology and ideas. We may think we know what our culture is, how engaged our employees are but are we right, when did we last measure our culture or review it in the light of new ideas?
Cultures which worked forty years ago may not meet today’s business imperatives. What is right for a start up company may need to evolve as the organisation grows. When everyone can access the same technology, how do you differentiate yourself from the pack? The role of science is to question, to influence and to flex as new discoveries come to light. Why should business be any different?