Violins, mines and bikes: 3 metaphors for change

A video and a couple of articles I really liked this week, with similar themes.

Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Also, good metaphors for internet-era transformation are like buses. So, here are 3 metaphors that coincidentally came along this week about doing things differently to achieve radical change.   


πŸ‘‰ The Value of Discomfort: Creativity, Exploration and Unlearning Your Way to Transcendence (video)

My excellent friend (and successor at GDS) Jen Allum now has the coolest job title in the world. She is Head of Systemizing Radical Innovation at X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory (not to be confused with Musk’s Twitter rebrand).

Jen is extraordinary, and this interview is extraordinary. As one of the audience members says, I just love hearing her talk.

The improvised string music is less pleasant to hear, as Jen herself says, and has a touch of Jazz Club about it – but there’s something compelling in its weirdness, and that’s the point!

[YouTube link here in case the event site ever disappears].


πŸ‘‰Don’t Build a Mine Before You Struck Gold, by Flo Crivello (article)

Fans of discovery, minimal viable products, double diamonds and starting small and iterating will relate. Flo’s article is about commercial startups finding their market fit, but it applies to any product or service. Do the research and experiments early that confirm the user needs really exist, and your service really meets them, before erecting any permanent structures.

Reminds me of this line in Kate Tarling’s book too: the biggest risk of all is failing to design something “useful, useable and actually used” – that’s true whether you charge for your services or provide them free for the public good.


πŸ‘‰ Bring your strategy to life by riding a bike 🚲, by Jurriaan Kamer

Working out all the detailed steps of how you’ll deliver something is one example of building the mine too soon. The illusion of progress and a clear plan might comfort managers, but it places an unhelpful constraint on your delivery team’s creativity before they even start.

As this short article puts it “we can’t plan & predict our way into gaining market share, becoming the #1 app in the app store, or changing the culture of an organisation” – you need to constantly jiggle the handlebars and correct your steering to keep the bike on its wheels and going the right way. 

So there you have it, three for the price of one – get your thought leadership here, form an orderly queue. Logging these here partly so I can find them again myself, and hope you find them useful too! 

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