Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Digital Disruption: Lose the Constraints

Digital Disruption Lesson #2: Lose the constraints that restrict your thinking. This is the second in a five part series on Digital Disruption.

Greenfields, whiteboards, and blue skies; these are the ingredients of an architect’s daydreams. The solutions I can construct when unencumbered by the silly notions of reality, logic, and physics send shivers of endorphins along my cerebral pathways. Commander Data would be jealous.

Until and unless architects become the Gods our egos aspire to be; thinking and doing are separate processes and should be governed by separate constraints. Thinking, imagining, considering, and pondering should not be restricted by mutable “facts.”

Of course, we don’t live anywhere near this fantasyland. Our universe is bounded by big black lines of limitations, cliffs of calamitous cutoffs, and borders of foreboding barricades. In other words, we are trained to think in a box, a box with boundaries we shan’t not cross!

Yes, facts are mutable - they do change. It is a fact that our company has never put email in the cloud. This is a mutable fact. In fact, there are very few immutable facts. The speed of light is pretty rigid, but most everything else is fungible. Most of the rules that govern our work-life are determined by either consensus or edict; which is to say the rules are not determined by physical constraints.

This has led to the age-old question, what is the difference between perception and reality? Answer: Reality can be changed.

We are hostage to our perceptions of what can and cannot be done. We must train ourselves to reject idea rejection on the basis of perceived boundaries. Just because you can’t do a thing is not justification for considering why such a thing shouldn’t be tried.

William Gillette is the man who invented the safety razor. Prior to his solution, shaving was recommended only after registering your Last Will and Testament. It took him years to develop his new razor, sharp enough to cut course whiskers, safe enough not to slice veins. Of his efforts he said, “If I had known how hard it was going to be, I wouldn’t have tried.” Good thing he wasn’t surrounded by smart people telling him all the reasons a safety razor was un-doable.

Digital Disruption Lesson #2: Lose the constraints that restrict your thinking.

Somewhere, close to you is an idea that will significantly improve your business, and the only thing holding it back is that you know better - you know all the boundaries that prohibit it’s implementation. You must reject those boundaries as they are false borders constructed of assumptions, happenstance, and limited visibility.

Somewhere, there is a person who does not know your job as well as you, who is able to make a breakthrough because they are not limited by what you know. You can compete with this person, but only if you allow yourself to think without constraints.

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