Skip to content
Learn from the way-finders: prepare for change and navigate it successfully by drawing on your senses, knowledge and lived experience.
Learn from the way-finders: prepare for change and navigate it successfully by drawing on your senses, knowledge and lived experience.


Original content by ChangeDriver

Change is the only constant, and these days change is happening at breakneck speed.

Technological innovation and Artificial Intelligence are unravelling most of our previous tried and true approaches. Almost every aspect of day-to-day life is changing—how we communicate, how we travel, where we work and how we perform our work.

As innovations disrupt how we interact with our surroundings and each other, how do we find our footing? How can we adapt to this new tumultuous and dynamically changing world?

We might do well to consider an ancient approach. Take the people of Polynesia. For thousands of years, they sailed the Pacific ocean in waʻa kaulua. These were double-hulled voyaging canoes.

About 40 years ago, Polynesians revived this practice. Why? In part, to restore a 2000-year-old tradition of ocean voyaging, as well as the pride and dignity of the Polynesian people.

At the same time, this remarkable revival is an example of the struggle to live in balance with our constantly changing environment and surroundings.

Because after all, our world is much like the ocean. It changes constantly, but like the sea, it remains fundamentally the same, whether it is calm or stormy. It’s how we prepare to navigate it, and how we navigate the changing waters that makes the journey successful. 

In 1976, Mau Piailug, a master Micronesian navigator and teacher of traditional way-finding methods, shared his knowledge with the Polynesian people and together they successfully navigated 2,500 miles of ocean to Tahiti in a wa’a kaulua.

Piailug and his crew relied on their senses to track the rising and setting of the sun and the position of the stars at night to set direction and latitude. Piailug also relied on the feeling of the ocean’s swells against the boat to find his way. He identified eight different directional swells in the open sea, and maintained the canoe’s course by their angle. He and his crew successfully made landfall without using any navigation instruments.

By paying close attention to the world around us, using our senses, knowledge and lived experience, we could become more like the Polynesian navigators, attuning ourselves to the changing patterns and rhythms affecting our daily lives, how we work, where we work and how we run our organizations and businesses.

Learn how to become a ChangeDriver™. Take the course.

Have a comment? Email us.

Did you like our article? Then please share it with colleagues...

Get started on becoming a Certified ChangeDriver™ today!

Scroll To Top