Have you noticed how we as humans tend to justify what we do by the actions of others? Sure you have , we do it all the time but is it really helping us? We get annoyed when children legitimise their actions by citing the behaviour of others…we tell them the ‘world just doesn’t work like that!’…but it does, it really does!
In most businesses we cannot move forward until we have built our case for change by highlighting the thinking of others……we have this innate fear of going out on a limb and being truly innovative and creative…we shy away from the dreaded question……’Why?’
Yet the strange thing is that when we are in the presence of a true visionary we are in awe of their superior mind. We remind ourselves that we are but mere worker ants and should never expect to be the catalyst for any significant change in man’s understanding…. how sad this state of affairs is. Don’t we hear , all to often, upon the success of a revolutionary idea being made concrete that ‘it is such a simple idea, I wish I had thought of that’. There goes another unfulfilled worker-ant back to the ant-hole to carry the heavy loads for the ‘top brass’…but wait a minute…..we all have these ideas , we are no different from these ‘superior minded ones’ we just didn’t believe we had permission to think creatively on our own, nobody had time to research if others had thought that way before.
Many years ago I authored a computer program which identified the likelihood of a child suffering from poor academic progress due to undiagnosed learning problems . It was a qualified success, it worked, the schools liked it , the children liked it but the authority figures who needed to write the cheque didn’t understand it, so it unfortunately was not adopted widely. I was told it was too far ahead of its time, in fact it still is. Point being, when I revisit this project , which I plan to do in the near future, the ideas I had back in 1995 will not be as outlandish as they were back then. The technology has caught up with the idea and it is now easier to deliver but the basic concept and fundamental elements of the project remain intact . As there have been developments in the field I was working in since my initial attempt to launch the product there are more people who understand what I am talking about, there are more pieces of data knocking around for people to refer to when understanding my idea and so there will be less opposition and the chances of success are higher. Frustrating………as I heard someone say once in reply to a comment suggesting that the success was ‘overnight’ ….. ‘ Well , if it was ‘overnight’ it was a bloody long night!!!’
What do you think we would have all done in 1984 and 1985 if Bob Geldolf had not been so outrageous as to highlight the plight of many African countries dealing with famine? Live Aid was borne out of the sheer persistence and ingenuity of two successful musicians who put their reputations on the line …stand up Midge Ure and Bob Geldolf, take a bow, you nearly orchestrated the world’s biggest epic fail scenario….but you didn’t! Isn’t that the type of wild thinking we all need to excite our own work and energise our people?
Just think what flack these guys got when they suggested this idea…..
OK , what about this , tell me if this will fly……
Now that is no ‘average’ cup of tea! Just brilliant, really simple, anybody could have thought of that but only one person actually did anything about it. This is the difference between average and superior in our business, between rehashing other people’s ideas and forging new paths for yourself. Maybe somewhere there is a similar film made at an earlier time but like my computer program …the time was not right, this time it is. I know it is comforting to know that the average number of mobile devices in a home is …whatever it is, but that doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you work by numbers alone thinking that you will attract a certain percentage by default. Take some heart from people like Richard Branson, Bob & Midge,Steve Jobs , in fact any original thinker in any walk of life… look around , listen , watch , dream………perhaps there is one in your office…… perhaps it is you!
see you on the long and winding road……. Patrick