I can’t draw. Well, not very well at least.
There’s one massive psychological block I’ve got to drawing, and that stems back to when my O Level art teacher, Miss Moon, told me outright just before my exams “You’ve got a reasonable eye, Matt. The problem is you can’t draw.”
That kind of stuck.
But, more importantly, Miss Moon had a point. There is something about my hand/eye/brain coordination that gets in the way of things that I draw being much more that impressionist representations. Occassionally I sit near a guy on the train in the morning who spends his time on the trip drawing incredibly intricate pencil sketches of birds. Over the 35 minute journey he’s working feverously, yet progress seems remarkably slow. He draws lines, rubs things out, is constantly tweaking and shaping things. With a marker pen in hand at a flipchart I have neither the talent nor patience.
But that idea of sketching, of putting things down to act as guides to then be able to remove them later, slowly, patiently building things up over time, has struck a chord for me in the #sharingorg research work.
Big organizations want to be able to deliver big systems to solve big problems with big bets. The thing is, though, unless you know you are on to a certain winner, big bets are a really stupid strategy.
Instead we hear language of failing fast, failing often. But failure is such a pejorative term that it doesn’t seem to help much, and deep down organizational structures with their investment cases and Return on Investments and people staking their career reputations are all geared to the big wins. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, most folk take a route of isolating themselves from potential of failure even if there is glib talk of “learning opportunities”.
So instead, when it comes to introducing new methods or new technologies where the outcomes are unknown, how about thinking about it like the way that an artist sketches? Putting in some lines to guide, adding detail, removing bits, changing, adapting… this kind of thing: