Adjacent Possibles


I had a great conversation with friend and colleague Josh Corman this weekend about various information security topics.

Josh is one of those people who produces multiple packets of interesting speech and thought during the course of a conversation. He creates these bundles, collects them, and can employ them whenever needed.

It’s quite remarkable.

Anyway, one he had for me this weekend was the concept of an Adjacent Possible, which he explained to be kind of the opposite of a distant ideal. It’s largely different for different people and different organizations, but represents the next, realistic thing you can do to move towards your goal.

A glance at Google reveals a completely different definition, so I’m not sure the sources of these various concepts, but I thought the idea was interesting enough to pass along.

When thinking about big ideas—especially where there are many groups in play that you hope to influence—don’t just think about the 12 steps that every group will have to take.

Think instead about action that each organization can take to improve their position by moving closer to the ideal, and recognize that it might vary widely from group to group.

Think about their Adjacent Possibles.

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