I have been reflecting on a thought that my mother shared with me years ago – to be a true master you learn everything there is to know in a field and then let it go. There is a moment of releasing yourself from the confines of the way things have been done so that you can create something new.
Increasingly I find this philosophy applicable to everyday life – walking the fine line between experience and openness. I’ve read so much literature about how things should be done: how to start a company, how to be productive, how to be creative, how to be successful, how to be spiritual. And yet, there’s a part of me that feels that much of this literature exists for the sake of the writer, not the reader. There is, of course, a subtle balance. Perhaps being informed and ignorant at the same time, and at any given moment, is the true mastery.
My guest today is Professor Piero Formica. He writes at length about this subject in his book, The Role of Creative Ignorance. Piero started his career as an economist at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, then moved to academia. He was Professor of Economics with a special focus on innovation and entrepreneurship at the Jönköping International Business School in Sweden and is a Senior Research Fellow at the Innovation Value Institute at Maynooth University in Ireland. He is also Adjunct Professor of Knowledge Economics, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Tehran, Iran, and a Guest Professor at the University of Tartu in Estonia.
Piero’s many historical anecdotes give life and texture to the underlying exploration of creative ignorance in our conversation. We touch on education reform, the history of conversational innovation, and Piero’s personal approach to teaching innovation and “not knowing”.