Change is the only constant. Change is opportunity, crisis, strength and weakness all rolled into one. If you are a “Who moved my cheese” fan (I’m more of a Johnny Bunko fan) then you know that it is you who decides how you will feel about a change and how you respond to the change can make a big difference.
And it is certainly easier to say all that when you aren’t going through a change…
My blog has been a bit quiet of late because we have been going through a change at the office, and obviously these things don’t just appear instantaneously.
I find it quite unnerving that when these sorts of changes are in the air, we only talk about them in very hushed tones, only with those who we trust, and only seriously if we have been given an official heads up. But is secrecy really the way to go?
Argument 1: It may change again.
– Just imagine if we didn’t tell people about things because they might change again.
Argument 2: The secret will get out.
– Chances are it probably already is out. Plus not sharing doesn’t exactly send a vote of confidence to those around you.
Argument 3: People’s lives are involved.
– There is a grain of truth here about some people being more impacted than others, but once those people are spoken to and involved in the discussion, is there really a problem with this? Would they be even more likely to want to hear and talk about the opportunities the change is creating in other areas of the business?
At the heart of all this though is something about the way we (don’t) share our ideas before they are completed. Seth Godin refers to it as shipping. Getting the product/service/thingy/ idea out there as soon as you can, so that you can get some real feedback on it, make it better based on some of that feedback and the good ideas other people have, involving the key customers so it works best for them – they are the ones who we need to “buy” it after all.
There are lots of reasons why people don’t want to share their idea before it is complete (fear of negative feedback being a big one)…but maybe the possibilities of sharing can be so much bigger & better.
And if it relates to a really big idea, doesn’t that make the possibilities of sharing even better…
“The key to change…is to let go of fear” – Rosanne Cash
A TED talk by a “data journalist” David McCandless (same video at Youtube) highlighted that the display of information is more and more critical in influencing the world we live in – love his graphic of Facebook status updates about break ups. And what better way to display information than in an infographic, and gee these are appearing everywhere on almost every topic – even South Park. While some argue that this proliferation is perhaps not always done out of the desire for increased objective understanding of data, there is certainly a need for anyone displaying data (which includes me when I am working) to find a compelling way to display that data so that is tells a story.
To make all of this work though we first need to have the data, the understanding and the desire…
The Data – I read a few Gov 2.0 type blogs which talk about government departments and agencies making their information available to anyone and then people being able to use it (however they want). Some agencies are taking this a step further and allowing anyone to create an application which can use the open data sets which anyone can then use to make use of the data. What is basically happening here is the analysis tool development for the data is being crowd sourced.
The Understanding – This is what I now think has started to become the next version of the use of the wisdom of the crowd by taking it from more simplistic tasks – such as come up with a new slogan or product name (iSnack 2.0) or send in your photo (NothingLikeAustralia.com) – to much more complex elements that often require teams to work together – such as BrownCoats: Redemption, or the amazingly geeky Star Wars Uncut project – or do work of very high complexity with high production values – such as this short film which got its maker a US$30mil Hollywood contact.
The Desire – Something from a recent article on a conversation between Dan Pink and Clay Shirky reminded me of how this sounds when someone says it:
Pink: Think about open source software in general—whether it’s Linux or Apache. Suppose I’d gone to an economist or management consultant 25 years ago and said, “I’ve got a cool new business model for making software. Here’s how it works: A bunch of intrinsically motivated people around the world get together to do technically sophisticated stuff for no pay. And then after working really hard, they give away their product for free. Trust me: It’s going to be huge.”
There are so many data sets that are available. Would it hurt for any of us to think about how we might make the best use of the crowd (or the best people in the crowd) once in a while to help us display the data for our industry?
PS. “Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” – Mark Twain