Now-ish

Yesterday, it became summer. I don’t mean that there was some kind of calendar event. It was just a sense of discontinuity. Other people seemed to have it too, judging by the crowds out and about doing summer things — including two guys on a cherrypicker tying plastic cherry blossoms onto a leguminaceous tree while falling about laughing uncontrollably.

Tree maintenance.Tree maintenance.

On May 15, I’m giving a webinar at the Singapore Civil Service College on how to use uncertainty strategically to design innovative and responsive policy teams. You can sign up for it here.

Early in April, I gave a talk to a research group at ESCP on the strategy implications of different types of not-knowing. tl;dr:

  1. There are different types of not-knowing,
  2. Each type of not-knowing offers different possibilities for innovation, and
  3. Each type of not-knowing requires different tools for taking action.

Then, mid-April, I went to Chicago to run a workshop on how to experiment better (= faster, more cheaply, with smaller downside) and eat too much pizza. Chicago is a big, sprawling, scrappy sort of city which felt livable in a way that New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles don’t anymore. But if I lived in Chicago, I would be on statins or ⚰️. After that, to Bari to try and shake off a long-standing preconception about southern Italian wine (no luck there). But it was all worth it when we stumbled on the weird wild vegetable called lampascioni in a bar-restaurant in a nondescript Bari neighborhood.

Had coffee last week with a friend who was abducted by terrorists some years ago. They said that humans today seem to find it especially hard to deal with not-knowing. On reflection, I think three mechanisms, all connected with Science (the rapid expansion of the scientific method as our default mode for acting in the world), make it harder for us to relate well to not-knowing in Modern Times.

Also finally wrote a short overview of the difference between true uncertainty and formal risk. It’s a lightly modified extract from chapter 5 of The Uncertainty Mindset.

A slice at Pequod’s.A slice at Pequod’s.

Updated 4 May, 2024