Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Surviving Ideaicide And Other Perils Of The New Economy

Some of the recent posts for this weblog have been dealing with the creative-destructive aspects on the Web 2.0 business environment, Kevin Kelly's insights for the creative side and commodification for the destructive. Another post dealt with the new Artisan Economy.

What this post is taking a look at are some of the aspects of the social/business environment in which all of this is suppose to be happening. This is to serve as a reminder that having a laptop does not instill instant creativity or guarantee a smooth road to success.

As this New York Times BUSINESS article on February 3, 2008 By JANET RAE-DUPREE tells us in Unboxed: Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work
As humans, we want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance, with great thunderclaps and echoing ahas. Balderdash.

Not only do we have to work hard on our own ideas, we have to maintain an openness to conflicting ideas, going back to what F. Scott Fitzgerald advised. This Los Angeles Times article provides a more indepth perspective.

The modern world is an ever-changing mass of contradictions. Reconciling them is fundamental to success, whether in business or in life.

The need to keeping conflicting ideas in balance is hard enough, but one also has to do so in an environment of increasing complexity. As small business expert by Ivana Taylor review of The Complexity Crisis — Why Keeping it Simple is Not Stupid at Small Business Trends' tells us.

The Complexity Crisis

Looking at the current business obsession regarding product proliferation, the long tail, and flat worlds complexity the argument goes has run amok among businesses, both big and small. John Mariotti, former president of Rubbermaid Office Products and Huffy Bicycles, lends perspective and clarity to complexity in his new book The Complexity Crisis. Why too many products, markets and customers are crippling your company and what to do about it.
"Businesses must compete in more complex global markets than ever before. Most companies are seeking double-digit growth in markets growing in single digit rates — or not at all. This quest for growth has led to runaway complexity caused by the proliferation of products, customers, markets, suppliers, services, locations, and more. All of these add costs, which go untracked by even the best accounting systems. Complexity also fragments management focus, wastes time and money, and ultimately reduces shareholder value. The problems grow, but they remain under the radar of management attention. Complexity is arguable, the most insidious, hidden profit drain in today's business world."

What is of greatest interest is how, even succeeding in meeting the above challenges, you keep your ideas alive. One source of inspiration has been referenced before, the Change This Manifesto. This time the pointer comes from Brand Autopsy's johnmoore on 2/1/08 Ideaicide Prevention is Everybody's Business.

"Ideas are usually rejected out of turn for being too 'something' — too fast, too unproven, too far beyond the corporate image. 'Too something' is a reactionary description used to take the edge off ideas that are strong, bold, and a little scary at first sight. Your challenge is to help people discover a means, harmonious with the culture, to accept your concept."
Alan Parr & Karen Ansbaugh
Ideaicide: How To Avoid It And Get What You Want
* ChangeThis Manifesto *

I am not sure that this has to happen necessarily in a corporate setting. GroupThink, which I suspect is a primary cause only needs two to be contagious. Government is also particularly susceptible to this aliment.

Finally, in this type of environment the chances of unhampered non-stop success are slim and none. As the The Entrepreneurial Mind told us back on 1/30/08 Failure Stinks!. Fortunately, Dr. Cornwall provides a pointer to Bounce.

Barry Moltz's long awaited second book, titled Bounce, has finally arrived. From his (Barry Moltz's) website:

Conventional business wisdom tells us that there is always something to learn from failure. Not true--sometimes it just stinks! Failure that offers no real learning value becomes a big jolt to the basic business belief system.
Barry's gift is that he uses humor to offer lessons that all entrepreneurs can learn from. During his last visit to Belmont, Barry offered some glimpses of what he planned to explore in his new book. Just like with his first book You Need to be a Little Crazy, this book is a must read for entrepreneurs at any stage of their development.
Barry demonstrates that developing the resiliency to 'bounce" through these cycles determines who ultimately will succeed. Using real life business examples, he shows that with true business confidence, we can face our fears, let go of shame and failures, use all our choices, be better risk-takers, and define our own brand of success.

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