I often talk or write about making sure people are given the opportunity to interpret a process, in the same way that a musician interprets the score they are playing.
This weekend I’ve been reading a lot of Margaret Heffernan, and thinking, and I’m not sure interpretation goes far enough.
Interpretation allows a player to take the score and add their own spin to it, to inflect it with their own style.
Exploration allows a player to go beyond the score, to see what might be on the other side.
Experimentation allows a player to take the score and bend it, push it, deform it, and see what happens to it as a result.
Interpretation or exploration rarely breaks the thing you’re playing with, whereas experimentation very well might. You wouldn’t necessarily want to be doing that in front of a paying audience.
Hmm. So I think my conclusion is that all three are needed to maintain a coherent set of processes.
Interpretation is the norm, it’s how a person makes the score or the process their own, without damaging the underlying promise.
Exploration might be something a person or a group of people does, on a regular basis, to hypothesise potential improvements to the process. Perhaps in response to signals such as exceptions that are becoming more frequent, less exceptional,
And experimentation is something the same people do, on an equally regular basis, to test those hypotheses before the score gets changed, to make sure the promise is safely preserved.
If everyone knows how to interpret, explore and experiment well, you’ve got a powerful system for continuous improvement.