Shades of Samuel Becket!
Reading the Daily Telegraph this morning (28/09/06) I found an article with the headline 'Innovate or die: this time we mean it". I was struck by a statement made by Patrick Macdonald, chief executive of John Menzies, "You have to give it a go, recognise what you haven't got right, change it again, try again, change it again. Most of the enduring rock bands of the Seventies didn't get it right until about the third album, and it's the same sort of thing.”
"It's going really well now, and is undoubtedly a business for the future. But a few years ago we were in second-album syndrome." - meaning that if you abandon an idea too early you won't do anything significant.
There is a portrait of Samuel Becket executed by Tom Phillips which, a few years ago, I stumbled across in The National Portrait Gallery, London. I was immediately inspired by the quote at the bottom of the picture:
NO MATTER - TRY AGAIN - FAIL AGAIN - FAIL BETTER
This quote from 'Worstward Ho' is a great mantra for any group that wants to innovate by breaking away from the herd described in the same DT article by the quote of Trevor Matthews (Standard Life)
"In Australia, people will say 'let's do it'. Here, its analyse, analyse, analyse."
Innovation is a tricky business but we can do it better if we don't mistake activity for action.. Tom Peters included this quote a few presentations ago:
“This is so simple it sounds stupid, but it is amazing how few oil people really understand that you only find oil if you drill wells.
You may think you’re finding it when you’re drawing maps and studying logs, but you have to drill.”
Source: The Hunters, by John Masters, Canadian O & G wildcatter
In other words doing something and Iterating to a conclusion beats doing very little, every time!