I help teams and people to navigate through uncertainty.

Innovation is, by definition, all about doing new things. But whenever we try to do something new, we will inevitably encounter uncertainty. That’s the point.

But uncertainty often makes us uncomfortable, so we naturally seek ways of handling it. Some are useful and healthy, but others can be negative and damaging - to us and to the projects we are working on.

There are some people who thrive on uncertainty - but many others find it paralysing, divisive or demotivating. When this happens, it becomes difficult to move forward with a project, and uncertainty that is not addressed will destroy morale, kill creativity and create divisions within a team.

For example, uncertainty can cause:

  • Paralysis or procrastination
  • False confidence and bravado
  • Arse-covering
  • Playing it safe
  • Giving up completely

All of these are harmful to the innovation process.

I support innovation by helping people and teams to navigate uncertainty in healthier ways. This doesn’t mean I have all the answers, it means I’m good at helping you find better ways of dealing with the uncertainty that may be causing problems.

It’s not magic - it boils down to these five themes:

  • Identifying the causes of uncertainty
  • Clarifying the risks uncertainty brings
  • Reducing the level of uncertainty (if necessary and if possible)
  • Managing emotions
  • Making a plan to move forward

Addressing these in a transparent way is a powerful way of bringing teams together. Each theme has its own toolkit, but we can begin simply by asking questions like these:

  1. What am I actually feeling uncertain about?
  2. What changed that made me feel uncertain about this thing now?
  3. What new knowledge or action could remove/reduce this uncertainty?
  4. Why would that help?
  5. What would be the consequences (good & bad) of moving forward without this knowledge or action?
  6. What are the consequences of delaying until I have it?

To some extent, the answers to these questions are not really the point here. Just working through a list like this can relieve some of the mental burden. Making thoughts and fears concrete tends to cut them down to size and make them less overwhelming.

So: if you’re feeling stuck - try to find a quiet space and run through this list. Let me know how it goes.

Or if you’d like me to come and help you, get in touch: ian@iancollingwood.com.

Curiosity + Commitment = Fun

My whole life I have been driven by an insatiable curiosity about the world and the people and the systems in it.

In practice this means that whenever I come across someone who’s weirdly, irrationally passionate about something I’ll jump right in interrogate them. I’ll literally sit and fire questions at them till I understand what on earth they’re doing.

This weird habit has served me well so far - I discovered that when you’re interested in what people are doing they usually delighted to tell you about it, and you often end up getting involved. Try it!