Propositions about change

Jack Martin Leith seems to have spent a lot of time rearranging his website, deleting stuff then deciding to reinstate it. I know the feeling!

I think the results are pretty good for those who have the luxury of reading it, not having to write it.

This post in particular got a lot of my attention today: propositions about innovation and change. Jack’s taken material from his old site and reworked it with comments left there by a range of pretty interesting people. Here’s some of the opening section, but I recommend the whole thing.

1 Replace desired future with desired present

Change happens in the here-and-now, not in the future, so we should talk about ‘desired present’ instead of ‘desired future’. By using the term ‘desired present’ we open up the possibility of immediate and effortless change, even when circumstances seem to render this impossible, and we galvanise people into action…

2 Realise that change is not a journey

The metaphor of ‘the future is a place and change is a journey’ often limits our ability to create results quickly and easily. If we’re not careful we start to imagine all sorts of roadblocks that don’t actually exist. We kid ourselves that we’ve created a map for getting from A (current reality) to B (desired future state). We find ourselves believing the milestones we dreamt up are real.

In fact there is no starting point. No destination. No map. No roadblocks. No milestones. And no other trappings of a journey from A to B. These are nothing more that aspects of the journey metaphor. It’s very hard to move beyond this metaphor as it’s deeply embedded in our language and our consciousness.

I think we casually use language around change and innovation without noticing the way it restricts our experience. As Jack writes here and elsewhere, we easily end up with a rather narrow and dispiriting notion of innovation as being brainstorming followed by project management. In doing so, we think we’re making it all rather efficient and safe, but I think we end up strangling the quirks, eccentricities and awkward feelings that may seem very untidy but actually contain the passion and energy that can actually allow change to work.

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