Remembering Brisbane's Flood - 8 Years On.
Antediluvian is one of my favourite words. It has a quirky ring to it and it's unusual enough that if you drop it into a sentence you can really surprise people.
Its literal meaning is before the flood. Traditionally, this refers to the Biblical flood of Noah, and the term is generally used to describe thoughts, ideas or policies that are so ancient or archaic that they could have come off the Ark.
In Brisbane, where I live, and in many places around Australia and around the world at the moment, our concept of something that was 'before the flood' is no longer ancient or archaic - it's just last week. It's fresh, it's raw, it's still wet. But in many ways the implications of the word antediluvian are still the same - it really means, before everything changed.
Those plans we made for the New Year, those things we were going to do before January got away from us, those visions for what 2011 would be - they are barely a fortnight old - but somehow they seem like ancient history.
A lot of my work involves helping people to plan for the future. One of the biggest challenges is the 'what if?' Indeed many people abandon the idea of planning altogether because there are too many things that could go wrong, too many things that could change.
Unplanned changes are a normal part of life. Some are minor and some are more significant, but change of some kind is inevitable. It is not what happens in our lives, but how we deal with those things, that determines our outcomes. Accepting that not everything is within our control is a useful, but sometimes difficult, first step.
Many of us may be tempted to throw our well-made plans out the window in the face of unforeseen change. My advice is to be flexible and make changes where you need to, but don't abandon your core desires and values. Don't abandon your reasons for being. Hold onto these, and build your Ark around them.
As a kid my summers were filled with cricket. We watched it on the TV and then we'd play cricket at the beach or in the backyard with a transistor radio going so we didn't miss a ball. Some of my earliest memories are of Lillee and Thompson pounding the pitch against the Windies and Allan Border smashing it out in the Ashes.
My five year old daughter loves to watch cricket and over time she's learning its nuances. This week she saw a score displayed as 7/103 and asked, 'Mummy, which number do you pay attention to, the 7 or the 103?' Of course, you can't look at either number in isolation.
For the batting team it's a delicate balance between the runs you need and the wickets you have in hand - how much risk you need to take versus how much risk you can afford to take. While defensive play might eek out a draw, to win you have to take some risks.
Regardless of the equation, the bowler has to make every delivery count - continuous, relentless persistence, ball after ball. The batsmen often get all the glory, but you have to take 20 wickets to win a test match.
How do you balance consistent delivery against the bigger game you are playing?
Ad Hoc Innovation Leads to Ad Hoc Results: A Consistent Approach to Innovation Is Essential to Future Proof Your Company.
When I was a postgraduate student I had the great privilege to spend some time in the University of Queensland's Fryer Library to examine Peter Carey's original manuscripts for the novel, Oscar and Lucinda. The purpose of my research was to study the author's writing practice. Through six boxes of archived materials I was able to observe patterns in the writer's daily habits and his approach to creating a major new work from the kernel of an idea to the finished novel.
Peter Carey's practice is to sit down to his typewriter at 9:00 am each day and to write at least 4 pages. Some days it would be many more. Many ideas would be captured in initial notes, but only some would be further developed and end up as part of the final work. Ideas, plot threads, even character names and the name of the story itself could change many times during the development of the novel.
Even if your work is not about writing novels, what you can learn from Peter Carey is that creative work requires daily practice. Professional creative artists don't sit around waiting for inspiration. They schedule time to explore and develop ideas as part of their every day work. For innovation to be effective, working with new ideas needs to be part of daily practice, not a sporadic or ad hoc activity.
What daily practice can you schedule time to explore and develop? I'd love to know.
Economic growth is linked to technological innovation. However, many contemporary organisations are still modeled on a paradigm that pre-dates the industrial revolution. It’s like trying to win a Formula-1 Grand Prix in a Model T Ford.
Before the industrial revolution wealth was based on owning land. With each subsequent wave of technological innovation potential for growth has been further separated from ownership of tangible assets. If your business model relies only on the ‘things’ that you own, you are limiting your potential for growth.
Download my whitepaper on strategic asset value to learn more about how you can integrate the tangible with the intangible for better growth outcomes.
Image Source: Ocean Tomo.