We may be able to articulate what we hope/intend to happen in the future. But we know that things rarely work out precisely the way we had planned. Much of the end product is tied up in the process of implementation. Nonetheless, we crave direction and optimism if not certainty. Conducting a pre-mortem is one way to manage the risk that things will turn out to be vastly different from our original intention.
“The whole idea is this: if you really want to be innovative, you have to experiment. If you know the outcome of what you’re going to do, it’s not an experiment. It’s more like a demonstration.”
Amazon’s vice president for global innovation policy and communications, Paul Misener
Introducing this kind of approach to innovation into most organisations takes a fair bit of courage, a shift in mindset about causality and the exercise of a range of somewhat different skills and capabilities.
Complexity and Control Jordan Greenhall recently used an interesting metaphor for why we have ended up with hierarchical organisations and leaders who operate from control-based structures in order to manage complexity.