The worm has officially turned. The downtrodden rise to overthrow their oppressors, an unfair situation is being reversed, and the soil is being aerated in preparation for new growth. The business world is being forced to shift from a mechanised, information-based model to a creative, conceptual one. There are heretics everywhere. What’s your stake in the revolution?
It may seem a bit of a stretch to liken creative thinkers as earthworms, yet Darwin insisted the earthworm is one of the most important creatures in history. By doing what it does naturally, the earthworm transforms nutrient-starved dirt into rich, fertile, arable soil. And it’s major enemies? Commercial fertilizers, pesticides and extremely dry soil. Not so dissimilar then. The mega tsunami of technological developments, available information and globalisation have created a commoditised market where efficiency rules, and Better/Cheaper/Faster is the order of the day. Dry soil indeed, for in a commoditised market, information is NOT power – it’s just data.
True power now lies in the ability to make information mean something so people can do something worthwhile with it. Or to say it posh; the ability to extract insight and leverage it to create value. Or in worm words, chewing the mulch to excrete the castings that fertilise the soil.
Nodding sagely to observations like these is fine, but there is no power in lip-service. It is pointless to pontificate about creating a culture of innovation in a company that avoids risk and punishes failure (pesticides?). Or to demand massive organisational change by imposing a system from the top instead of making sure it is organically relevant (commercial fertiliser?). Or to claim to value ’employee engagement’ while rewarding compliance over input, and while using carrots and sticks rather than purpose and creativity to spur motivation. (Definitely dry soil – and Dan Pink’s TED talk on this is fabulous.)
Well, the worm has turned and it’s time to consider your revolutionary agenda. Your heretical manifesto. The groundswell is building, and soon companies will either have to transform lip-service into action or cease to exist, because unless they act, their fields will fail to produce: they will be unable to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace, unable to generate sufficient innovation, and unable to attract and retain high calibre talent.
Not so much turning, then, as spinning.
* Dervish comes from the Persian ‘Das’ and literally means ‘to open the doors’. Which I suppose you would, if you saw one whirling your way …