What do wooden spoons have to do with knowledge? Keep reading as I’m about to explain!
The beginning of everything
Not very long ago, I started making wooden spoons. I started with no more than a knife and a piece of wood. It came to me after watching a Youtube video. In the video, a participant in alone survival contest was making wooden spoons and other carvings to keep his mind (and sanity!) occupied. This part is key: I was already understanding that it could be done, but without knowing exactly how to do it. Although, in this case, even without watching the video, it was obvious that it is possible to carve wooden spoons.
The importance of knowledge
Here’s the thing, the first spoon I made didn’t turn out a complete disaster. You could clearly see that it was a spoon and you could use it as a spoon. But it wasn’t a very perfect spoon (sorry first spoon, it wasn’t your fault). It also took time to make it. I didn’t treat the wood correctly either. In fact, at that point, I wasn’t aware that I had to treat the wood in a particular way.
And this is where the importance of knowledge comes in. There was A GREAT DEAL that I didn’t know about making wooden spoons and that was what was preventing me from making a decent, quality spoon. So I searched for knowledge. I consumed videos… and more videos on how to carve spoons, how to sharpen knives, how to «read the wood», how to treat a spoon in order for it to be usable etc. Not a lot of videos though. After all, it’s a spoon, not rocket science!
Knowing how to do something is fundamental. It helps you to make things, not only better but even faster or to make better use of your resources. The first time I saw a clear example of this was a few months ago in the first edition of the Startup Paradise. There, I was part of a group exercise aiming to explain the importance of knowledge.
The paper tower group dynamic
Basically, the group dynamic was about trying to make the highest possible tower with limited resources provided. In this case, a large sheet of paper, Jenga blocks, some skewer sticks and elastic rubber bands. All the groups managed to build a tower, though not a very high one upon their first attempt. After that attempt, the one activity leader showed us the way other teams from other editions had managed to make the highest towers.
In a matter of minutes and just with the help of just a couple of images, you go from a tower that barely reaches one meter, to a tower that almost reaches the ceiling. The materials were the same and the people making the tower were the same as a few minutes before, but now they knew how to do it.
That is the importance of knowledge, you improve even in things that you supposedly already know how to do. When someone discovers a better way to do it, and shares, then you get to absorb that knowledge. From that moment on, you just keep getting better!
Do you know a tool that does that very well (sharing the knowledge I mean)? It’s called Zapiens, I invite you to check it out 😉