April 20, 2017
In January, I attended the 50th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). It is a great event, and every year I am introduced to thinking that forces me to extend myself in the way I think, what I think about and how I think about my thinking (but more on that in a future post).
But while there, I took some SUP lessons. Now I have been Stand Up Paddleboarding for eight years. I live on a lake, been paddling in the ocean many times on vacation, and in swells on Lake Michigan. I thought it would be a small step to take on SUP surfing.
But then I met Ian, an instructor and owner at HYPR Nalu in Kona, who links biomechanics to paddling in a really interesting way.
And I discovered that I had to unlearn the lessons and habits that big boards and flat water had enabled. I was not ready to enter the surf. I did not know how to read the flow of the water. The very patterns that enabled success in the flat water and calm left me fundamentally unprepared for the fast flow of a Hawaiian shore break.
The HICSS conference and my work in innovation with Open Systems Technologies’ clients reminded me that the success patterns of our past, the methods and capabilities that met the technical and organizational needs, can be fundamentally misaligned to the faster flow of the shore break of digital disruption. I must be willing to unlearn those success patterns and become a novice again, and embrace the learning that starts from willfully not knowing.