Risk and uncertainty

An example of seeing through the rules

The other day I heard a memorable, if short, tale about Emmanuel Macron. It recounts that as a student he auditioned for the school play, but didn’t get the part he wanted. His response was start his own drama group.

I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s not the point. It’s a neat example of changing the rules of the game to combat uncertainty, which is a strategy I’ve advocated before. Or, to repeat the phrase from that article: design risk out of the system.

Strictly speaking the young Macron did not face an uncertain future—he had already failed to get the part—so he wasn’t dealing with “risk” as most people would understand it. But he could equally have taken the action before the audition and then ignored the school play. He looked beyond the perceived system (the school play) and showed that the perceived rules were more like convention and less like hard rules.

Learning to see past convention and custom is surely something which we can improve with practise. And it can lead to imaginative solutions.

Photo by Tony Butterfield

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