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Uncertainty Experts - A World First by Sam Conniff
This New Ways of Working newsletter has been guest written by my new pal Sam Conniff 🤩
Here’s a quick intro for those who don’t yet know of Sam: he’s the author of the international best seller Be More Pirate, an acclaimed public speaker, and most recently creator of Uncertainty Experts — a unique hybrid of online learning, interactive documentary and psychological intervention. The purpose of his latest and most ambitious venture to date is to create future-ready humans.
Uncertainty Experts is a unique and transformative personal development experience bringing together neuroscientists from University College London with producers from Netflix to create the world's first interactive documentary scientifically proven to increase Uncertainty Tolerance.
Hello! Like you, I'm a fan and follower of Mark and his ability to make New Ways of Working and Complexity make sense. I’ve attended his webinars and subscribed to this list, and recently we spent an hour playing an over-excited game comparing our two specialisms.
I work in Uncertainty, the evil twin of Complexity. However, there's a huge overlap because increased Uncertainty Tolerance has a causal and measurable relationship with improved collaboration skills, comfort with ambiguity, preference for predictability, need for order and structure, closed-mindedness, and risk-taking*. These are all essential components required for imagining, exploring, and creating a radical new future of work.
I was studying Complexity when the pandemic hit and I soon found myself on the edge of burnout and bankruptcy. I knew my nascent knowledge of Complexity could help me out of the nosedive I was in. But some of the theories confused me. I’m the opposite of an academic, and I needed examples of people who had applied them in ways I could learn from.
I did my research by volunteering to help other struggling entrepreneurs and discovered the role models I needed to transform uncertainty into opportunity. I interviewed refugees turned CEOs, gang leaders turned business leaders, prisoners of war turned politicians, and others who had been through homelessness, mental health crises, gender transitions, and more. They honed their skills in the shadows of uncertainty to emerge as leading lights in society.
The inspiring stories shared by my Uncertainty Experts were filled with practical tools that could help people. Behind the scenes, it was Complexity that explained their success. I applied an emergent approach to my research design process and, as a result, uncovered a little-known specialist lab called the Decision Making In Uncertainty Centre at University College London.
With their support, I ran a controlled chaos strategy, resulting in a unique proposition — the world's first interactive documentary scientifically proven to increase Uncertainty Tolerance. We set a launch date for a product we didn’t have, and a few months later, we crashed into a pilot for 500 people. The results were peer-reviewed and published at the CIPD here.
Since then, we’ve created an on-demand, online version for the general public and a corporate version that we’ve run for Lego, Apple, Netflix, and Nike. 95% of people who watch the three 1-hour-long episodes, interacting and reflecting along the way, see a statistically significant increase in their Uncertainty Tolerance. Over the next few months, we’re evolving a cross-subsidy model where our corporate clients fund free access for NHS workers, with the ambition to increase the Uncertainty Tolerance of 20% of the NHS workforce.
So I went from being burned out and borderline bankrupt to leading the world’s largest research study into uncertainty with renewed energy and ambition to make a difference.
And this is what brought me to Mark. How can I continue to be inspired by Complexity, to take this adventure into uncertainty even further? We both got excited by the challenge and decided to be friends, share insights and understanding, and find ways to collaborate. We’d like to invite you to join us on this journey!
On June 6th, Mark is joining the next live cohort of my program and we’d like to extend the invitation to you with a discount code of MARK that will get you 33% off the ticket price.
See the peer-reviewed published benefits of the program here.
Read more about Uncertainty Experts here.
After the series, I’ll join Mark for a follow-up webinar to share all our insights and answer any questions, and hear your ideas for our potential future collaborations before I join Mark's next course in July.
What are the elements of the Uncertainty Experts course:
2 x Live Online Webinars (launch and graduation)
3 x One-hour interactive documentary episodes (to watch on demand)
2 x Uncertainty Assessments (pre and post the experience)
1 x Personalised Uncertainty Profile (filled with practical guidance)
1 x Certificate of becoming an Uncertainty Expert
12 Months of access to more bonus content, worksheets, science explainers and more.
*All taken from the Uncertainty To Opportunity Score (UTOS) which is built on several scientific and psychological measures, including the Need For Closure Scale.