January 17, 2006

Don't worry, be crappy

Guykawasaki3 Guy Kawaski has only been blogging for a couple of weeks and already has over 150,000 reads on his blog, so either there's naked ladies on his page or it's actually worth reading. It's the latter. He has some great advice on the art of innovation, advice which pretty much sums up the process I am going through with the MFLE.

It's frustrating being the Development Officer of a project like this when you are used to the lightning publishing offered by blogs. With a blog you do not have to contend with Content Management Systems that, rather than doing what they were designed to do i.e. make web-publishing easy and uniform in an organisation, tend to make the process slow, archaic and work intensive for my saint of a Content Editor colleague. Meanwhile, if it weren't for the hyper organisation offered by GTD I'd have long forgotten what I had already passed through the system. No, I like blogs, I like their messiness, I like the categorisation that the blog does to clean it all up for me and my readers on the left hand menubar. At least this way people can see the processes involved in thinking things out.

So, Guy's second point comes true:

Don't worry, be crappy. An innovator doesn't worry about shipping an innovative product with elements of crappiness if it's truly innovative. The first permutation of a innovation is seldom perfect--Macintosh, for example, didn't have software (thanks to me), a hard disk (it wouldn't matter with no software anyway), slots, and color. If a company waits--for example, the engineers convince management to add more features--until everything is perfect, it will never ship, and the market will pass it by.

And another one that really made sense to me:

Don't be afraid to polarize people. Most companies want to create the holy grail of products that appeals to every demographic, social-economic background, and geographic location. To attempt to do so guarantees mediocrity. Instead, create great DICEE products that make segments of people very happy. And fear not if these products make other segments unhappy. The worst case is to incite no passionate reactions at all, and that happens when companies try to make everyone happy.

I don't know what a DICEE product is (and wikipedia doesn't have it) but I know that I make segments of people (sounds very messy, Guy) very happy while others are certainly unhappy. Is there a way to keep everyone happy, even just a bit happy? Yes, almost certainly, but I fear that this is the way to stop things moving forward at a pace that makes us innovative.

Are we being as innovative as I would like to be? No, almost certainly not yet, but I do know it's coming, it's on the way. Heck, I even have a date that I know will allow us to be innovative when our tools come on tap through SSDN. In the meantime, I just have to keep churning and churning on the MFLE. It's not exactly the Eureka feeling that most associate with innovation, but it's obviously the way it happens for most of us. What version are we on now, I wonder?


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If we don't experiment, we don't move on.

So lets keep doing the innovative and different stuff, and don't just let the web developers charge more money for snazzy organisational homepages

As a (saintly) content editor, I think it's great being able to "bung things up" on a blog, quickly and easily and without processes. I like the way anyone and everyone can have in effect their own websites in minutes, without having to pay someone to design one. Hope this doesn't mean obsolescence for content editors though...!

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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