Exploring path 5: Action
And here we are, the fifth (but never final) pathway to consider in exploring
With this one we LITERALLY follow the footsteps of an explorer with Neil Armstrong’s
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
One of the best ways to make progress with exploring new frontiers is to embody the Nike ad. Just do it.
Except! Trying is very much part of the action path way.
Test and learn, take small steps, get feedback on the effectiveness, and respond.
I’d like to say get outside of your head, but this approach is firmly embedded in how your brain learns and is called the perception action cycle and is the basis of things like exploratory machine learning systems.
Movement is key to triggering the perception-action cycle: you need to take physical action to change the world around you, and then observe the result of that action.
The trick to exploring new frontiers is making these physical actions as small as possible. Leaping out into the traffic to observe the result of the action is unlikely be a productive pathway. Taking a step to the curb to gauge the speed of traffic, the cadence of gaps in the traffic is more likely to yield forwards momentum .
In terms of exploring new frontiers, its more useful to think about how the people in business agility and software development use the approach. The key concept here is the Minimum Viable Product.
The MVP was introduced by Eric Riess in the book the Lean Start Up – and it represents a product with enough features to attract early-adopter customers and validate a product idea early in the product development cycle. So what is the smallest product that satisfies market needs that you can launch and test the adoption or acceptance. You gather feedback and iterate. This is an action based pathway to new markets.
This concept has a myriad of applications – you can use it in industry, test a new collaboration model to manage supply chain difficulties? But like the traffic and the curb, make it a small test to safeguard.
Now. A caveat on these pathways. None of these pathways can be considered without considering the level of power that is involved in exploring this path. So whether you are empowered, or the amount of privilege you have in that situation, how much power you have in the interaction all impacts how fast, how far you can explore or indeed if you can use that path at all.
And for that reason, some of these pathways are more preferable than others – in an area where you are disempowered, you may have more power and agency on an other pathway. This is what impacts your choice of pathway.
So assuming you are empowered, and have choice, that there is either a need or a want, you now have five pathways to consider:
The five pathways are:
- Semantic – Be awkward and stumble in your conversations as you search for the words that mean most to you.
- Values – consider the power of bridging values that permit collective momentum.
- Somatic – Be attentive to the small signals your body is giving you on what direction to take!
- Qualities – Consider how embodying the qualities of optimism, idealism, patience & persistence, courage, curiosity and grace might take you further in exploring new ideas.
- Actions – what is the smallest action you could take, to get feedback on the value of the direction you should take?
Don’t forget – embarking on these pathways will take physical, emotional and mental energy.
Make sure there is a want and a need!
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