None of us knows what all of us know

Posted on by Brandon Klein


We limit our abilities to serve and perform when we don’t tap into everyone’s knowledge. Likewise, we individually don’t have to know everything in order to solve a problem. We limit our ability to serve the client with fresh, new, innovative designs when view one person in our enterprise as the all-knowing, veto-empowered expert. It creates stasis and lowers morale. This affects the ASE when we regard certain of the staff as the expert. It affects the participants by encouraging analysis paralysis or gridlock.

For everything you know, there is far more that you don’t know.



Everyone does not have to know everything to get to a solid solution. Teams working in parallel is the fastest and best way to create the ‘Acceleration’ in ASE. Recognize that all of us are smarter than any one of us. Utilize this concept by inviting ideas from all the people present and not assuming that we must create a collection of experts to address an issue.

For the Facilitator: Yes, you are the person responsible for delivering the event. But stepping back a little from the design and relinquishing some personal control over it allows the team to step up and co-design with you. Co-design can bring fresh, new, innovative designs. Some of our most unique and creative ideas came from turning the issue over to a group of knowledgeworkers who lacked any preconceived ideas of what should be done.

For the ASE: One of the most challenging group of sponsors is the experienced group, who often challenges the facilitator to go further (or drop Scan altogether). The creativity is at the edge between the groups, where they put ideas together in new ways.

For the client: We all don’t have to know all the data. We exist as individuals in the world who possess only partial data and as a group comprise the whole solution. (see Group Genius). Project teams sometimes have done an enormous amount of work that they feel every participant must know cold before they can proceed. Certainly the group must absorb what has been done, but all of them don’t have to learn everything. Let them get exposure to pieces and then mix the pieces up. Set up opportunities for them to ask naïve questions. Set up several groups to solve the same problem and then put the solutions side by side. Not every individual has to know what the group knows in order to act effectively.

See At Home in the Universe, by Stuart Kaufman.

In Phil Jackson’s first year coaching the Chicago Bulls basketball team, they had a disastrous season because even though Michael Jordan was highest point-scoring person in the league the other teammates stood back in awe! Once they learned to be a team, they could win many more games