Happy Steve

Innovation and Learning

Start with clarity of intent.

Now build it out with an evocative vision. Improvise progress by tinkering: with lots of trial and lots of error. The not knowing is the best bit: the mysteries the surprises, and from time to time the windfalls! 

Hello there, I'm Steve Collis! 

Click on "contact", won't you, and wave right back at me?


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UPDATE Sept 24 - check out this article about unpublished medical study data. This is a significant issue more generally for Science: the tendency for 'failed' studies to remain unpublished. The unknowledge concept would remedy this.


I was introduced to this concept via the book 'The Black Swan' by Nicholas Taleb.

The insight for me is that lack of knowledge can have a shape, and that shape becomes useful information. So, in a way, unknowledge is knowledge.

An example of unknowledge is the books I haven't read yet, or perhaps even heard of. A subset of these unknown books is the books that I will end up reading.

I know from the past that I am quite regularly introduced to a game-changing idea from a book I read. I mean an idea that I then take on board as salient. It changes the way I view life, or relationships. or something important, forever. 

It stands to reason then, that there are books that I have not read yet, but I will, and they will change the way I perceive the world, or my inner world, or whatever it is, in a profound and lasting way.

It also stands to reason that there are books that I have not read yet, nor will ever read, that would change me if I read them. I will never know what those books are, obviously.

These unknowledge-sets - books that would change me, books that I will read that will change me, books that I will never read that would change me, have a shape. By pondering them my experience with books I have read is cast into relief. I can relate to previously-won insights with a new perspective. 

Other unknowledge sets that intrigue me:

  • people I will never meet
  • people I have met who would have truly blessed me if I had bothered listening to them
  • wisdom I have heard but wasn't paying attention to
  • items that people have robbed from me but I didn't notice
  • the date of my death
  • what I could achieve if I tried harder, been more disciplined, loving, etc
  • the disasters or dark places I could have already ended up in had I not been so determined, loving, etc
  • people I have hurt but they never told me
  • people who currently resent me but I am none the wiser to it.
  • people whose thoughts I am influencing
  • people who I genuinely helped via a kind word or some nice gesture, although they never told me

I typed these rapidly over 2 minutes. I could find 100s. I can know some of the containers, even if I don't know whether they contain anything, or what they contain. I can know varying degrees of information about unknowledge-sets.

Simply identifying the containers, I find wonderfully instructive.