Knowers & Learners: Controlling for Variables

August 13, 2020

In this section of our “Knowers and Learners” workshop, Dan Seewald explains the importance of running experiments. To demonstrate this lesson, he focuses on the case study of Philippe Petit, a high-wire artist famous for walking between the Twin Towers in New York. 


When discussing his feats of balance, Petit did not consider himself a risk taker. He asserted that his preparation was so thorough that “nothing is left to chance.” Seewald described a device in Petit’s backyard where he could practice walking on cables in different conditions. He also spent months researching weather conditions before his stunts. 


Seewald presents Petit as a model learner. “A learner is all about experimentations. They base their decisions on tests and feedback from mistakes to make micro-adjustments,” Seewald says. Pivoting to a corporate context, he continues, “[Learners] don’t run validations and pilots to prove it so they get a fuller investment… They do [experiments] to constantly learn.” 


Watch the video above for more.