Every project, large and small, begins with an amount of discovery, large or small. It’s the time when we begin to learn what we don't know.
The objective is to collect as much intel as possible, and distill it into meaningful facts. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a smart strategy. To get to a smart place, you can begin at a smart place by standing on someone else’s shoulders. But, there will always be an amount you don’t know, large or small.
Admitting ignorance is the quickest way to learn.
Use the cognitive skills that come from experience, and the tools and tactics acquired along the way, of course. Yet, most importantly, when walking into a new environment, the quickest way to begin learning is to admit ignorance of the details. Leave the preconceived notions aside. Seeing a challenge on its own merits, rather than conforming the challenge to ideas you already know, is the purest path to discovery. It's the only way to find new ideas.
Ignorance means there's a lack of information. It doesn't mean there's a lack of a method to gain the information. Not having a method would be, indeed, stupid.
Get comfortable with being foolish.
And stay foolish. By that, we mean accept new ideas for a long time during the creative process. The sooner an idea is shut down because it appears foolish at first, the sooner creative generation stops. The group can have a good time shooting down ideas, later, that were off the mark.
In real time, keep it foolish. It's no mystery that the very best, and ultimately popular, concepts risk being ridiculed out of existence when they are first uttered. If a person likes a concept the first time they hear it, there's a danger that the concept isn't new, but only comfortable.
Ironically, if an organization creates a comfortable environment for all ideas, new ideas will come forward.