November 30, 2011
Despite all the problems in the world — the sorry state of the environment and the economy, the absolute insanity of the standoff between the republicans and the democrats, the unrest everywhere, the disasters — I believe we are living in remarkable times. We have access to more information, more quickly than at any other time in history. Technology makes everything possible. Some of the greatest minds the world has ever known — or may ever know — are right here, right now.
And yet, we’re stuck. We just can’t seem to move forward. For some inexplicable reason we can’t seem to think of what could be; and instead, we refuse to change — insisting on living in the past — insisting on doing things the way we always have — despite the fact that they no longer work — and never will again.
It is so frustrating I could scream. And it makes me think of that late 70’s movie, “Network”, starring Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and an all-star cast. In fact, the film is a story of a fictional television network with failing ratings. When the anchor, Peter Finch, is told he’s just got two more weeks on air, he has an on-air meltdown. He then essentially starts ‘a movement’ when he rants “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
That is exactly how I feel, so stay tuned. You may just see me on the 6 o’clock news one of these evenings.
It drives me crazy that I go to conference after conference where corporate executives are ringing their hands. “Why” you ask? Because angry customers are venting on social media and they (the execs) think that if they have a Facebook page and get people to ‘like’ them all their problems will miraculously disappear.
Their problems will disappear when they change the way they do business. When they create products and services that their customers want and need.
Same goes for politicians; and health care providers; and educators, by the way.
Who knows? Maybe you’re all getting tired of hearing me whine about the same thing all the time. But we could accomplish so much, we would do so much good — if only we were prepared to re-think the way we think. Still not getting it?
Do yourselves a favour. Buy “Change by Design”, a book written by Tim Brown, who is the CEO and President of IDEO — one of the top ten most innovative companies in the world. What they do is called ‘design thinking’ — a systematic yet creative approach they use whether they are creating an object or finding an innovative way to deliver clean drinking water in the developing world.
I’ve re-read the book at least a half dozen times now; and each time I do I am more inspired. The challenges we face can be overcome. There’s a better, cheaper, cleaner, faster, more efficient, more human-centred way to do almost anything. All we need is the desire, and the willingness to change.