Failure is not my friend!

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Just when you thought it was safe to go out on your own with nothing other than your trusty handheld device for company …your worst fears come true!

Cast your mind back 10 years ago when you could leave your house with nothing more than a door key in your pocket and you were set for the day? OK , perhaps a wallet would help but there was no need for anything else…now we rarely leave the room without our smart-phone….. we are sooo connected…….now, is that a problem?

Well, it might be because , as I have mentioned before we are slowly but surely losing the ability to remember anything of importance and even less likely to be able to perform simple calculations on the move without our smart-phones.
It has been a funny old week as they say, some ‘uber’ amazing examples of digital muscle and some equally disturbing examples of digital mayhem….lets look at the mayhem first because as we know , if you want to restore order you first have to create chaos….. oh yeah , we are getting deep this week!!!!

Today, my wife and I were having a conversation about people and their attitudes to new things , old things and familiar things….I came out with a statement that she found interesting….. after 20 years , finally I had done it!!!!

I said that “many organisations are comfortable with failure and the thinking that goes with it, that is why being ‘right’ about something can be the reason you do not break into or progress within that group…. so often we find that whole careers are made out of the deconstruction of failure rather than the appreciation and understanding of success…”

My beef with organisations that repeatedly fail or under-perform is that they refuse to look outside for answers; as the saying goes, ‘ if you want more of the same then keep doing what you are doing’.
Seems so simple as we read this to say ‘ yeah , we know this!’…but how many of us work in an environment where failure defines all we do?

Now hold that thought………………

this week , in fact today, all these stories were standing tall;

Google ‘in breach’ of UK data privacy agreement


Photo Courtesy of FreeFoto.com
As well as taking pictures, Google Street View cars scooped up personal data

Google has admitted that it had not deleted users’ personal data gathered during surveys for its Street View service………………FAIL, followed by excuse.

Skype denies police surveillance policy change


Microsoft revealed it was buying Skype in May 2011, 17 months after filing a surveillance tech patent. Microsoft’s on-line message, phone and video chat service Skype has denied making changes to its system “in order to provide law officers greater access” to its members’ conversations…..FAIL, followed by excuse.

Twitter hit by technical fault on eve of Olympics


The site attracts huge audiences during sporting events.

Parts of Twitter became inaccessible a day before thousands of fans are expected to start tweeting about the Olympic Games…..FAIL, followed by excuse.

Android and Nokia MeeGo phones hijacked via wallet tech

More and more people are using NFC to make low value purchases via their phone

A skilled hacker has shown how to hijack a smart-phone via a short-range radio technology known as Near Field Communication (NFC)……FAIL, followed by excuse.

Well , this does not sound like a system I want to be part of , if they can’t keep this stuff going smoothly and make sure it is helping me , why should I?

Yes , it is all very troubling as we find ourselves being sucked further and further into the dependence upon this digital world we hate to hear that it is flawed….just like when we find out our sporting heroes are really flawed egotistical jackasses who just happen to be talented in one area and lousy at all the others!

Does this digital stuff ever really work on a grand scale as promised?

So , yesterday evening, as I sat waiting for the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympics to start I was both intrigued and anxious….after all this was an Olympics in my home country and whatever I wanted to think….it meant something to me ! Just to clarify how bizarre that is… I am Irish but my ‘home’ is Liverpool , like so many other Irish families, whatever the colour of blood running through us we still don’t want to think that where we are living is lacking in some way.

I knew ahead of time that the ceremony was likely to be unique, different and quintessentially British…with a twist!
Have a look and tell me that this was a normal opening ceremony……



in my humble opinion it was breathtaking, not only in its execution but also in its conception. The risk factor in this production was off the scale…it had never been done like this before, the story being told , the manner in which the flame was delivered and the actual cauldron in which the flame resides has never been attempted. Every section of the production had elements which individually were extremely difficult to pull off …yet they were successful each and every time!

This was true engagement, true social media, true community……….

Now …that thought you have been holding…yes that one! , ‘ how many of you work in an environment where you are defined by failure?’…… would this have ever been thought up in an environment like that?

Not on your nelly!

In a week where we have seen failure abound amongst the established powerhouses of our digital world , where delivery has been wrecked , expectations unmet, performance ravaged and excuses flowing we should stand back and applaud the sheer audacity of the 2012 Olympic ceremony organisers.

Were we all to have such an effect on our employees and customers over a four hour period just once a year then we would be involved in a spectacular organisation, to deliver such precision and emotion all in one performance, to reach out and communicate so eloquently with TV viewers and stadium participants alike, to tell such a captivating story that crossed language barriers and to include 80,000 people while the story was told is truly a monumental effort , an effort which if the next hosts, Brazil ,are wise will not attempt to better.

Whether we all agree with my summation of the event or not the point here is this, there comes a time in business and life where it is right to flush out the accepted known practices and instead to leap into the future with bold thinking and a childlike exuberance unfettered by convention in order to breathe life into something that we all thought we knew everything about….if you are not sure …try it on yourself first and see how liberating it is!!!!

see you on the long and winding road…… Patrick

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