What’s an unknown known and why is it important? – The need to rigorously critique truisms at Project Start-Up

What’s an unknown known and why is it important? – The need to rigorously critique truisms at Project Start-Up
30th October 2024, 9am GMT (UK time), online meeting
High Performing Life Science Organisations
£ 0.00

Life science organisations are adept at running projects within their field of expertise, and usually there are a number of truisms, or ‘known knowns’ that the team will build on to meet the project goals. However, if one of the known knowns is held to be true in areas outside the core knowledge base, problems can arise! This is especially true for a complicated project that breaks new ground, where it may be easy to reapply a truism that worked in one area to another without interrogating it to check that it still applies because these ‘known knowns’ are rarely explicitly stated.

It may even be that a ‘known known’ is an organisation’s ‘point of difference’ and therefore it is politically difficult to call out that ‘while it may have been the driver for a company’s growth for the last N years, it cannot be reapplied for a new project in a different technical area because of X.’

If you have ever worked on a project where the base assumptions are wrong it can be a strange place to be. The initial hope in starting a project with its associated potential gives way to a feeling of unease. It is often easier to ignore doubts, carry on with your work and hope that the problem goes away, but assuming that something is a ‘known known’ i.e. universally true, when in fact it is only true within a range can often lead to catastrophic project failure.

What we will cover:

  • What are “known knowns” “unknown knowns” and others?
  • War stories- some examples where they got it wrong and why
    • Titanic’s first voyage
    • RB211
    • Comet airliner
  • How changing the view can help pull out when you actually don’t know what you think you know.
  • Where we can help
  • Over to you
    • Known knowns on your projects
    • Conditions your project is operating in
    • Interrogation – Are your known knowns still true?
Stephen Bingham
Steve has worked within the field of Process Engineering for more than 40 years, working on, then leading projects from way up-steam Blue Sky, through Product formulation, Process Development, building plants for food, toiletries, cosmetics and Pharma. He has even been a production manager!

Managing projects in different but challenging technical areas and across technologies has given him an unique insight into how applying false precepts and a ‘one size fits all’ approach at project start-up can lead to disaster and what are some ways to avoid it.
Participants will be able to:
  • Share their own challenges with like-minded people
  • Pick up some successful approaches from others, to generating better collaboration and motivating a team
  • Hear some tips from our expert moderator
  • Elect to attend further sessions
Who we welcome
  • Anyone in a Life Science organisation who is leading, or working in a project or company initiative, especially in areas of technical challenge which are new to the organization.
  • Business leaders setting up new projects.
  • Pharmaceutical industry, biotech, food, FMCG