Jigsaw As A Metaphor

There are many strategies for completing a jigsaws, as I have discovered over the past few days while attempting a 1000 piece one myself.

Regardless of which piece is chosen, it is impossible to start and immediately know where it goes and what other pieces it connects to.

One of the first possible steps is to take a piece and spend a long time looking at the reference picture to find its relative place. This is laborious, and slower the more pieces there are.

In the process of doing the jigsaw, many pieces are looked at. Some - more than once. Sometimes you cannot tell where a piece goes or which other parts it connects to so you put it to one side. Gradually over time an interesting thing happens:

Picking up a piece leads to a tacit knowledge that its counterpart was seen before and you put it on the table. It might not be in exactly the right location, but in the right cluster of interconnected pieces. Each small piece develops into a larger group, until all the groups come together to form one beautiful picture.

Consider briefly the process of assembling an infinite puzzle as a metaphor for learned intuition. I think it delicately captures many aspects of startup culture, team building, knowledge sharing, successful leadership, and I suspect much more.


  1. Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

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