The Discovery mindset

Discovery is a really exciting stage in a project. The whole world is out there for you to explore and you’re specifically dedicating time to learning more about your service, the people you’re trying to help and the soup you’re all swimming in.

Taking the time to do this work is still relatively new to us and requires a different set of skills from those we’re sometimes incentivised to use. In the past there’s been some expectation that professional status rides on the ability to ‘know what to do’ and to get it done efficiently and quickly to start producing results. In discovery, rather than jumping in to implementing a solution to a problem, we’re stepping back to get a better understanding of exactly what that problem might be. Taking this time can seem like a luxury but in the end it means we produce better results because we’re investing time and effort in solving the right problem.

It’s a liberating time. Discovery means we have the permission to think big and wide. We’re not making a decision or committing to a course of action, so we shouldn’t have to censor ourselves and rule things out. We’re exploring and identifying opportunities not solving problems.

However, by its very nature discovery also comes with some challenges. We have to suspend judgement and not jump to conclusions. We have to push the boundaries of what we’ve done before and challenge the ‘accepted wisdom’ if we’re going to identify new and different ways of doing things. Perhaps most challenging of all, we have to deal with uncertainty and accept that while we have a process to follow, we’re not yet going to be able to articulate the product that will come out of it at the end.

For some this can be a big step outside the comfort zone, and can take some getting used to. But knowing what you’re getting into and actively a discovery mindset can help us to appreciate and enjoy this exploration.