Learning is more important than knowing

Blog Posts:Mu Sigma
Published On: 31 October 2011
Views: 137

Learning and knowing are two completely different things. Learning comes with experience and is associated with taking risks. Knowing is more about  prior knowledge/gut feel, or perhaps the result of being “told” that a certain fact is true, without questioning. It is the converse of learning, and often not based on fact.

Mu Sigma is definitely a learning organization – our culture is all about trying new things, and not being afraid to fail or be punished for failing (see our recent blog post on Fast Failure). These are necessary skills working in the analytics field, where you often have to experiment with different hypotheses and models in order to find the one that best matches the business challenge you’re trying to solve.

Often, when I hear “I know,” it’s followed by something like, “it won’t work because we’ve tried that before.” That doesn’t epitomize learning or risk taking to me. Constantly pushing the envelope leads to innovation. Trying things once and then giving up leads to frustration and eventually an empty bag of tricks.

What are some examples of learning versus knowing from your organization?

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