When we were rewarded for obedience we were obedient
When we were rewarded for compliance we were compliant
When we were rewarded for being competent we were competent
In our digital, post-industrial age the goal is disruption, creativity, innovation, solutions to complex, solutions to very complex problems. It no-longer counts that the solution can be scaled, that it can be standardized and perfected. We live in an era of total inter-connectivity, of mass individualized solutions.
It no longer matters that the person putting your iPhone, your lap-top, you tablet, your pizza together doesn’t care (they probably don’t either). It’s the system that cares, the system that makes sure that your iPhone, lap-top, table, pizza makes the grade. That the quality is right, the delivery is on-time, that the price you pay is right. It’s the system that does these things, it’s the system that cares!
We are persistently encouraged to rebel, to be disruptive, to be entrepreneurial, to give a damn, but…. it’s probably fair to say that most of the time we don’t, wont and generally can’t be bothered to. It’s a desk, a phone, a computer screen, numbers, letters…. whatever we do we’ll be paid at the end of the month. Well that’s systems for you.
The connected economy does actually reward those who are disruptive, the rebels, the creators. Of course I speak of Steve Jobs, Sarah Curran, Fiona O’Hara, Richard and Anthony Joseph and Richard Reed, all great at what they do. The internet might have lots of on-line video’s of cats, Lady Gaga, ABBA… but it wasn’t built for watching these. It was built as a way of connecting, connecting to anyone, in any part of the world where a connection can be made. But the thing is those connections are changing things, the way we think, the way we do things, our experiences, values, behaviors….
Social Media has been credited with bringing power to the people, well perhaps this is a bit of a big claim but you can see how it’s certainly influenced and allowed communication, how it’s facilitated disruptive behavior. The fact that anybody can now write and publish a book wont make them known best selling authors, it just means more people can write and share their books and there might be a chance that they might be a best selling author.
So where to draw inspiration;
I like the story of Icarus. Daedalus and his son Icarus were imprisoned for being disobedient, sabotaging the work of the king. Daedalus came up with the idea of flying out of prison and made some wings with wax. Now we all know the story, he told Icarus not to go too close to the sun, the wax would melt and he would fall. Of course, he went too close to the sun, the wax melted and he fell to his death in the sea.
Thou shalt not disobey? Well sometimes you shouldn’t disobey.
The full story however, tells more. Daedalus also told his son not to go too close to the sea, the water would ruin the wings, he would crash and drown.
The question then is was Icarus disobedient or unlucky? Did he try too hard or just make a monumental mistake? We will never know. Neither will we know if he had just did as he was told would he have escaped?
The story brings out the perils of being disobedient, fly high and travel far, fly too high and crash, fly to low and crash. Be obedient and chances are you will just be doing your job, uninspired. The system will look after the details.
The moral of the whole story is not everybody has wings or the ability to make them but if we all try to fly then at least some of use will reach new heights!
Felix Baumgartner; “…the world belongs to those who reject convention…”.