Mice, Dolphins, Inter-Galactic Highways And Innovation
“Good luck and thanks for all the fish”, the final communication between the Dolphins and Mice just prior to Planet Earth’s destruction. This was to make way for an Inter-Galactic Highway, in Douglas Adams’ “five part trilogy” The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. What has that got to do with Management and Innovation?
In this post I have taken the liberty of equating Adams’ book with management’s fear of change and innovation. As the book explains, the People (Management) believed they were in charge but of course the Mice (Customers) were the most powerful species on the Planet, followed by the Dolphins (Middle Management) and they were really running the Planet (the Business). The People had a fear of change and were not leveraging the innovation around them (Social Business Model), the consequence was traumatic for all Planet Earth’s inhabitants. Total wipe-out.
Fear of change in Management of Innovation.
Interestingly the planning permission notice for the destruction of Planet Earth had been on view in another Galaxy for all to see. The people had not learned to harness inter-galactic travel (innovation) and so were unaware of the changes that were taking place in their own universe (the market). Seven billion lives lost due to fear of change - only two people survived. All the Mice and Dolphins were wiped out in the destruction of the Planet; they were collateral damage – nothing new there I’m afraid.
How could this unfortunate misunderstanding have been avoided?
In Adams book the people (management) had been ignoring the changes taking place around them, they were not listening to the Mice and Dolphins. They had also ignored all the innovation surrounding them, they had failed to embrace change. Collaboration was not encouraged between the various species. A siloed mentality by the people ignored the Mice and Dolphins and all the experience these species brought to the table.
Simple analytics would have saved the world. Simple listening devices would have raised the issue of the proposed planning application. The raw data of the planning notification would have surfaced if the correct listening techniques had being applied. The people do not have all the answers. Collaboration and cooperation could have saved the world populations obliteration. The keys to the innovative Social Business Model are listening, digesting the data, developing a strategy and add in internal and external collaboration among all species on the planet.
If the people had taken all the information available to them, listened to the other species, leveraged their collective knowledge and adopted a healthy attitude towards innovation they would have being aware of the planning application of the Intergalactic Motorway Commission to upgrade the motorway network in the Milky Way galaxy.
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy is an example of what is happening among the 40 year old+ management in Irish and World business. Ignoring the innovative Social Business Model will lead to the sight of a wrecking ball outside your business’s door one morning seemingly without notice.
The innovation planning applications are on notice boards all over this planet, the Mice are now in charge, management have to recognize that innovation in the form of the Social Business Model has placed the power firmly within the hands of the Mice. If management does not adapt to the change the consequences will be dire for their businesses.
Can your business continue to ignore innovation and end up like the Planet Earth in Adams’ book?