Last week I observed something at the edge of my knowledge, a discussion about……, innovation and evolution. A potent combination that elicits strong opinions, and a jungle that I don’t fancy entering. So, I’ll just commentate from sidelines like a ‘low rent’, bloggy David Attenborough…. “experience the thrill of two big beasts slugging it out, blow for blow…..”
This is how the scene at the metaphorical jungle watering-hole presents itself.
Typical Friday morning in the jungle. I retweet one of my posts about how some big organisations have ‘ideas antibodies’. I’d proposed that big organisations, (and many people), don’t really like new stuff, and do things to make sure that innovative ideas are killed-off. The analogy of a biological immune system, antibodies congregating to neutralise the effect a foreign body, seemed to fit quite well? It was a post that has been inspired by listening to Dave Snowden.
A typical morning at the watering-hole with lots of exchanging exciting chatter. Oh and by the way, I then disappear into the undergrowth (work).
The Big Beasts approach the watering-hole. One of the reasons I’d suggested why there were ‘ideas antibodies’ was to do with evolutionary development. The proposition was that we have developed by sticking with what we know. The best place to hunt for Wildebeest, the best places to gather wild fruits etc. Any attempt to move away from the ‘best’ is met with resistance. Why would we want to risk failure if everything is going just fine? There is the view that this is a successful evolutionary trait has carried on to the current day, something I borrowed from Professor Alf Rehn.
Enter the Complex Care Wales Big Beast. I know Matt who’s runs @ComplexWales, and he’s a clever guy. Matt likes this sort of talk and is straight on it, diving in with some tweets to support the argument, and take things further. To paraphrase ‘from an evolutionary perspective we are predisposed to accept best practice…… we are more likely to avoid failure than mimic success from elsewhere’ (Matt does write excellent tweets).
Enter the Ferret Fancier Big Beast. I don’t know @bendean1979, but he’s a Doctor, so he must be clever. Ben offered the counter view that it is actually an evolutionary advantage to accept new ideas and be innovative. Accepting new ideas is what has got us to where we are as a species, all part of the Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ theory. Now that seems to make sense to me, except Matt came back with a counter argument.
So where does this leave me? At times of sparring at the jungle watering-hole, I do find it’s best to align yourself with the biggest beast you know. For this sort of stuff it would be Dave Snowden. It’s always good to back up ideas with some practical evidence and in this video Dave uses the example of the search for finding a method of measuring longitude. Dave describes how the established thinkers of the day rejected an innovative (and very effective) method, which is both sad and illuminating.
From my own perspective I’ve experienced idea blocking by some Information Technology ‘experts’ in response to open source software and social media. I’ve seen examples where the ‘experts’ have gone from; ignorance to denial to obstruction; and are now promoting it like it was their own idea in the first place. How do you rationalise that sort of massive shift in viewpoint?
One final thought. When very few people read my blog I never had any of this sort of excitement. I think I need to get more engaged in the conversation when I ‘drop rocks’ into the watering-hole, and not scurry off to the undergrowth. Thanks Matt and Ben, in my view (IMHO), that kind of discussion is what social media should be about.
So, what’s the PONT?
1.If you are going to drop a rock in the social media ‘watering hole’, you need to stick around to see what happens with the ripples.
2. If the big beasts enter the watering hole, either, stay in David Attenborough commentator mode, stand your ground, or find an even bigger beast to hide behind.
3. I’m sticking with the view there are organisations (and people) with a ‘predisposition’ to have ideas antibodies, and it’s probably an evolutionary trait.
Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orsom/4489375413/