It is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. Walter Isaacson’s biography of him is one of my favourite books.
There is a paradox. Since the death of Leonardo, we have become obsessed with the scientific principle. Rationality. Evidence.
However, Da Vinci’s work was based only partially on evidence. He was an obsessive observer, but he was first and foremost a questioner. A searcher. an explorer.
His genius was in his ability to formulate the questions to ask. His search for evidence was to inform questions, not to justify opinions.
We are in danger of losing that.
Today, we seem to spend more time justifying our biases, and manipulating environments to support those biases than we do in the search for “beautiful questions” – those ideas that power curiosity and creativity, and give rise to the search for the possible in the midst of the uncertain.
As leaders, of ourselves, others, and enterprises it is a good time to reflect on why we remember da Vinci.