Know-How is Ask How

A strong component of innovating is being able to know what to do. When we don't know what to do next, our innovation stops. This is what I often call the knowledge anti-creator.

Even if you don’t know where or how to start, just start. Even if you currently feel incapable, know that you are in fact capable. Feeling incapable is a common self-doubt that can be easily changed. We are all able to achieve what we want. It’s usually just a matter of changing the way we think about ourselves, acknowledging our strengths, understanding our unique intelligence and making the most of everything we do. Realise that you can and that very decision will initiate the first step towards realising your idea.

Know-How is Ask-How

Sometimes we fall into the trap of giving up on our ideas when we don’t know the answers because we think it’s too hard. As soon as you identify where you lack knowledge and start asking appropriate questions, things will get easier. While learning and understanding takes time, it takes less time than mulling over things and wondering what to do.

Developing the “how to” of something really involves the ability to ask “How do I do this?” You start by asking yourself this question and then ask people along the way to help steer you in the right direction. Gaining knowledge is merely the act of acquiring information and finding the way to apply it. Many of us fall into the trap of working in isolation and fail to ask for help or look for the most obvious solution available.

The more we admit that we don’t know, the clearer the path to execution becomes. The more questions we ask of others and ourselves, the sooner the answers will appear. The next time you’re stuck, write down the problem or the questions you need answered. Ask, “What would someone else do in my situation?” or simply ask the people around you — colleagues, friends and family. Communicating can bring help from places we never thought of so speak up, otherwise no one will ever know.

Wise Up

Looking for answers means research, and the better the questions we have, the easier it is to get the most useful information.

The route to finding knowledge is no longer the guarded secret of librarians or researchers. For a start, the Internet has opened the doors to a world of information and expert advice, all available at our fingertips. Internet search engines are a fast and effective means of research. Any search engine will get you heading in the direction of gathering valuable and practical information if you know what to ask for.

If you need to develop the skill of information gathering to realise your dream, get some training. It’s that simple. There are home-study courses, local adult education courses, online courses in many different areas. Check out the resources page to help steer you in the right direction for search engines and online courses.

Make It Up

Then there are times when we just have to make it up because no one has taken the path before us. In these situations, when we are stuck for what to do, our intuition is often our best guide.

Do This: Intuition Exercise

Ponder for a moment on how much of what you have created in the past involved simply making it up. Use your intuition about what you need and try whatever it tells you.

Best of luck with your new thinking around knowledge.


Nils Vesk

Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation Speaker | Consultant | Author

nils vesk