Getting to zero information

In The New New Product Development Game, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka talk about teams starting with “zero information”- where prior knowledge does not apply. The team is given a “broad goal or a general strategic direction” and allowed to exist in a state of ambiguity.

One of the benefits of working as a cross-functional team is that as each member shares knowledge, all the other teams members learn. And the team begins to work as a unit in developing the knowledge it needs to create the right product.

This also creates challenge for the team. Getting to zero information, to beginner’s mind, a state where the team doesn’t hold onto assumptions that cloud their judgement, is a difficult thing to achieve. Separating the knowledge that gives the team a solid grounding from the knowledge that takes the team in the wrong direction is difficult. Difficult, but important to do.