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Paul Klee, renowned painter, print maker and draftsman, famously said, “Art does not reflect what is seen, rather it makes the hidden visible.”

What a rich concept: making the hidden visible. It is a powerful pursuit for all endeavors in life, not just the creation of art. You can choose to accept something at face value, or you can explore more deeply its true nature: to see what lies beneath the surface, what is hidden from view. It is in the effort to explore the invisible where creativity is unleashed, and discoveries are made.

I think about what this concept means in our modern, technology-driven scientific world. Exploring the invisible has always been a scientific endeavor. Now modern science can ask questions with the assistance of computer technology by capturing data that were otherwise incredibly difficult to capture. Tools are available to capture data acquired by different scientists, across separate labs and spanning geographies. Things we don’t ordinarily attribute to data now become so; things like the detailed steps of a workflow, the pipette used for dispensing fluids, or the temperature and humidity of a laboratory. These scientific data captured electronically become a central research element, can be studied and queried and then contribute to expanding the boundaries of discovery.

This concept is personal for me. As a core member of our CultureTrax team, I work with Life Science companies to explore what data they want to electronically capture and what would make that data meaningful. It strikes me as notable how underserved basic laboratories are by modern computer technology tools. And it gives me a great sense of purpose to know I am part of a solution. Creating semantic data fields that impact the ability to understand and mine the details of biological science has future implications that are massively exciting to me. But that’s my particular brand of nerd.

So, what is the real goal of making visible the invisible? Something amazing happens when we pause and accept the fact that we do not know everything. When we approach challenges with the mindset of a new learner, rather than an expert, we foster a sense of empathy and understanding for our work and even our relationships. From that open mindset we make optimal decisions, cultivate sustainable growth and pave a path for the future.

I wonder what making visible the invisible means in your world. How are you leveraging a learning mind to break through boundaries toward discovery?


This article was inspired by:

https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/ARTH208-4.4.3-Paul-Klee.pdf

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/science-big-data/

https://www.allcanlead.com/making-the-invisible-visible