The Urgency Of Doing

Maricel Cabahug

There is a quote by the great universal genius and Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci that has stayed with me and guided me in my personal and professional life: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

The best teacher in life, many say, is experience. And indeed, we achieve by doing; nothing could be truer in leadership or in design. In leadership, you are expected to make decisions, paint the vision, and set the course. The catch is that you never have the complete information at hand. But if you do not act, if you do not take the first step towards a chosen path, you will never reach your destination. If you wait too long, you might no longer have a seat at the table. Part of doing is also having the confidence and integrity to know when you’re wrong and when to correct your course.

In design, we must act, and we must make. Whether it’s a low-fidelity prototype or a coded prototype, we must craft and make tangible our ideas and learnings. Time and again we see that our best chance of success happens when our users and stakeholders can touch and see our concepts and ideas. That is when true buy-in occurs.

One of the core tenets my team lives by is this: We have a bias toward action. Every moment is the perfect moment. We don’t wait; we make things happen.

As technological advances such as new hardware, machine learning, natural language processing, and Big Data impact user experience, we see even more the urgency of doing. We might not know all the answers yet, but we must start to learn, to quickly prototype and validate, so we can define how these technologies might augment human capabilities in the near future.

To the earlier quote, we could add one by another great man, Abraham Lincoln, born some 300 years after Leonardo: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Wise words we can still learn from today.

For more insight on leadership, see 7 Skills Needed To Be A Successful Tech Leader.


Maricel Cabahug

About Maricel Cabahug

As Chief Design Officer, Maricel is responsible for SAP’s overall design strategy and product design. At the heart of everything she is does is her goal to improve people's lives by making work delightful. She and her organization are passionate about co-innovation with customers to realize greater business value through technology that works for people. Maricel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Ateneo De Manila University in Manila (Philippines). She has an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (Illinois, USA), where she graduated with honors. She also completed the program for high performers at the Harvard Business School.