By Rick Szostak
Unknown unknowns are challenges that we will face in future that we do not foresee today.
Here I argue that an important subgroup of unknown unknowns occurs when some phenomenon that we know a lot about has an unexpected effect on another phenomenon that we know a lot about, especially when there are few links between the two silos of knowledge. An example is unanticipated “interactions” between medications prescribed by medical practitioners from different specialities. Here I explore such disciplinary interactions more generally.
Disciplinary scholars focus on interactions among the phenomena that their discipline studies, but usually ignore interactions with phenomena studied in other disciplines.