Sitting on the train into London this morning I spotted a tweet from Sarah Lazenby to a great cartoon called “Whack An Idea” by Tom Fishburne. The cartoon illustrates the frustration I’ve long held about the endless corporate cries for creativity and innovation, so swiftly followed by the punishment of mistakes.
Fishburne says: “When a business culture plays Whack-An-Idea for too long, it no longer needs to use the mallet. The culture begins to self-edit. Ideas that seem too risky are discarded out-of-hand.” The cartoon gave me a good laugh – and it’s a powerful illustration of a serious point. That pressure to conform, to self-edit.
The train pulled into London Bridge and as I got up to leave all I saw around me was grey. Grey suits, grey faces, grey expressions. Why bother wasting time on dress codes when most folk self-edit to grey. It comes to something when my non-descript vaguely pink shirt stands out in a crowd.
Somewhere in the office there’s a drawer. And in that drawer is a piece of paper. And on that paper is written the secret mission:
“We cut out creativity
Can’t handle responsibility
We lie about innovation
We crave idea constipation
We have assumed control”
I don’t feel so good.