Applying Liminal Thinking in Project Management

The word liminal comes from the Latin word līmen, meaning “on the threshold”. It refers to the transitional space between two states, such as the threshold between waking and sleeping. Liminal thinking is about being in between the two states (transitional state), and exploring other choices and directions.

Liminal thinking is a mindset to create change by understanding and reshaping beliefs. This mindset refers to a process of seeing things in a way that is different from our usual norm. This way of thinking allows us to question the way we usually do things and try out new ideas.

Principles of Liminal Thinking

Embrace uncertainty: Liminal thinking requires us to be comfortable being in an unknown space, question our assumptions and be open to new possibilities that could be better than the current way of working.

Be aware of your biases: We all have biases whether we are aware of them or not. Liminal thinking requires us to be aware of our biases and to question whether they are limiting us from seeing things from a different perspective.

Look for patterns: Liminal thinking involves looking for patterns and connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. By connecting different ideas, we can create new ideas and possibilities.

Focus on the process: Liminal thinking is not about identifying the best solution. Instead, it is about entering into the state of exploring new ideas and perspectives.

Applying Liminal Thinking in Project Management

Liminal thinking can be applied in many areas of our lives, including project management processes. Below are some ways we can apply liminal thinking.

Question your assumptions: Allocate time to inspect the existing tools and processes used. Constantly explore new approaches to improve on them.

Seek out diverse perspectives: Engage with team members who have different perspectives and be open to their ideas and try to understand their perspectives.

Embrace ambiguity: Accept that there may not be a clear solution to every problem. Be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.

While we have adopted the Agile framework in AI Singapore, processes and tools are constantly being retrospected to streamline and improve on them. Accepting feedback positively and being open to suggestions create an environment where we explore and try out new approaches for a possibly better outcome. This opens up the possibility of discovering better ways to resolve a specific problem or issue. Project risks could be identified and mitigated early by inspecting the solution from other perspectives.

Do share some of your practices and experiences on liminal thinking.