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Cultivating The Right Mindset for Discovery

March 18, 2017
by Adam Churchill

In discovery, we embark on a set of research activities to gain knowledge and make decisions. As Dan Brown explains, discovery is not so much a phase of a project as it is a mindset that we bring to the work. A discovery mindset involves asking questions and making decisions – a creative back and forth between inquiry and action.

There are three qualities , or mindsets, that Dan Brown believes are essential to the discovery process.


A curious mindset understands that there are gaps in one’s knowledge. When we are curious, we ask questions, follow hunches, and give ourselves permission to explore ideas. We find excitement in the process of learning new information.


A skeptical mindset does not accept all of the assumptions it sees at face value. When we bring a skeptical mindset to a project, we are able to assess ideas, play devil’s advocate to challenge assumptions, and approach a problem from different angles.


Humility reminds us that we don’t have all of the answers; regardless of the experience and knowledge we bring to a situation. Cultivating humility allows us to listen to the opinions of others, and be okay when we don’t know what we don’t know.