Seit Beginn der Quarantäne posten wir Artikel, um zu inspirieren oder unser kreatives Potenzial zu stimulieren. Wir nennen es #CREAntäne!

Mit unserem 26. Post wagen wir etwas Neues: Es ist ein 50%iger Gastbeitrag, und zwar weil eines unserer Mitglieder ihn mit einem hochgeschätzten Community Mitglied aus den USA geschrieben hat. Und er ist auf englisch, was wir in nächster Zeit eventuell öfter tun werden, um unsere internationale Community miteinzubeziehen. Wir sitzen schließlich global alle in einem Boot.

Den heutigen Artikel posten wir aus gutem Grund, denn es geht um ein sehr aktuelles Thema: Ambiguität. Doch lest selbst…

Written by Tamara Christensen and Katrin Elster. First published on on May 4 2020.


Welcome to ambiguity, the uncertainty of possibilities. The place where we can’t be sure what the future holds.

Do you see it?

Can you feel it? 

Do you have any idea what to do about it? 

When in ambiguity, we lack clarity. (Sound familiar? We are all swimming in it right now.)

But let’s not confuse ambiguity with uncertainty, which is the feeling that can be triggered by ambiguity. Ambiguity is the situation, uncertainty is the emotional response. 

Unsplash - Markus Spiske
Unsplash – Markus Spiske

What you can’t control.

There are no facts about the future and there never have been. Ambiguity is nothing new. It has always been around. Of course, right now it is much more prominent given the global spread of the Coronoavirus and its stunning impact on life as we know it. Yet when the pandemic passes there will still be plenty of other factors that continue to reduce clarity: climate change, globalization, digitalization, and many other issues that create complexity in the world. 

While information can give clarity in ambiguity, now we simply can’t rely on information as we once did. Sometimes we don’t have enough information, sometimes we have way too much or, worse yet, what we have is contradicting and confusing. The speed of change is rapidly accelerating and, let’s face it, there is no returning to “the way things were”. 

The time has come to embrace the new normal, to imagine new worlds, and to get comfortable in ambiguity. 

In case that leaves you feeling uncertain, have hope! Here comes the pretty-damn-good news. Ambiguity is a powerful catalyst for newness and change. Think about it, true innovation only happens in ambiguity. Now is the perfect time for the new. 

And here’s the not-so-damn-good news: Ambiguity is not something that we can control. It is situational; a context which we probably can’t influence (e.g. Corona). Fortunately, there are things that we can control and they can help us feel a whole lot better about being in ambiguity. 

We as individuals, organizations, communities, and societies get to choose how we respond to ambiguity. We can develop the skills necessary for reframing how we experience the unknown. We can learn to use it as a source of inspiration and creativity. We can transform our perception of ambiguity from uncertainty to possibilities.

Unsplash - Randy Tarampi
Unsplash – Randy Tarampi

What you can control. 

Research shows that ambiguity is context-specific meaning that our response to ambiguity varies from one situation to the next. Additionally, we may have different responses to the same situation (i.e. from day to day or between a work situation and a personal one). Basically, we aren’t hard-wired to deal with ambiguity in one way only and stuck with it forever. Aha! More great news!

In pursuit of self-awareness (which is a helpful skill to develop if you want to feel confident in ambiguity), let’s review the three contributors to our tolerance for ambiguity: perception, motivation, and skills. This is what we can learn and change. Also known as what is under our control.

  • Perception: How we think about ambiguity.
    Ambiguity is a continuum. We perceive ambiguity differently. While some may see risk as highly ambiguous, some thrive in vagueness. 
  • Motivation: How we feel about ambiguity.
    Our openness to approach an ambiguous situation varies. While some avoid it, some seek it out. What counts is self-awareness, so that we can make a conscious decision to take advantage and use ambiguity for new possibilities.
  • Skills: How we act in Ambiguity.
    It needs new skills to recognize, face, and navigate in ambiguity. When people are able to rationalize ambiguity, they can discover and enter the unknown and claim new territory. These skills enable us to work together in new ways.
Unsplash - Markus Spiske
Unsplash – Markus Spiske

Why you aren’t alone.

None of us lives in a cave alone (if you were you wouldn’t be reading this). Today’s complex challenges demand that we face them together. And guess what? Collaboration creates ambiguity! As soon as we get together there is potential for diverse perspectives and alternative interpretations which exacerbate an already ambiguous situation. As you may have experienced firsthand, an obvious solution can quickly become questionable when tossed into a team of diverse experts. 

Fortunately, what drives us crazy can also make us great! It is only when we collaborate that we can successfully uncover potential in ambiguity. Gone are the days of the lone genius. It takes a system of interconnected individuals to deliver a heroic impact. Yes, togetherness amplifies the challenge and it reveals the resolution. The chaos creates the cure. 

To thrive in ambiguity, we have to lead our teams into the great unknown with enthusiasm and optimism for what may emerge. Now is the time for bold moves. 

Why we CoCreACT® in ambiguity

We translate what we CAN control in ambiguity directly into CoCreACT®:

  • Co – new ways of feeling: We are in it together. A shared purpose gives us strength and direction.
    Owning our uncertainty inspires us to deeper understanding and new perspectives.
  • Cre – new ways of thinking: In the unknown, our understanding and imagination have to grow so that we can co-create new knowledge and solutions.
    This is only possible when we know how to communicate the ambiguous in a more experiential way.
  • Act – new ways of doing: Instead of achieving success in a straight path, we prototype forward.
    Our progress comes with experiments and learning. We can’t evolve by controlling, but by letting others lead. 

What is ambiguity to you?

Once you recognize ambiguity, you will see it everywhere. We certainly do. It may be incredibly obvious (like the challenge of remote schooling or envisioning a post-COVID-19 workplace) or perhaps it’s more subtle, just a little signal that you aren’t quite as certain about something as you once were. Chances are pretty good that you’ve got ambiguity all around you, so start paying attention to it. There are possibilities hiding in there! And remember, even though you can’t get out of ambiguity, you can learn to get the most out of being in ambiguity. 

Discover your ambiguity and share what you find with us, @cocreact, on twitter or instagram with #thisisambiguity. 

… und natürlich gibt es noch viel mehr zu diesem Thema. Wenn Ihr noch weitere Links, Ideen oder Feedback habt, schickt sie uns gern über Instagram oder Twitter unter #CREAntäne.

Nächste Woche gibt es einen neuen #CREAntäne Blogpost.

Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:

Du kommentierst mit deinem Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s