One of the unfortunate consequences of our industrial view of work is that it has tainted our sense of life and self as well. We tend to see the dots we join at work as being unrelated to those in the rest of our lives.
I have seen it often, the highly competent project manager who cannot organise their home life. The superconfident chef and party organiser who is a mess at work. It’s as if the idea of work-life balance and the separation of private and work has resulted in a schizophrenic sense of what we can do.
I don’t advocate the idea of working 24/7 and always being alert to using your private life to solve work problems. But what I am interested in is the notion of using David Eagleman’s notions of Bending, Blending or Breaking in order to find new solutions in either sphere, using information from the other.
(This video is an extract from The Mavericks Of Mass Creation conversation with Judith Germain)
The trouble with expert knowledge is that it is often opaque to non-experts. They don’t get it. When you stay in the expert field, you then generate ideas that refer only internally to that field. These ideas are then not adopted by the outside world because they are simply too far away from our day-to-day experience of things. They are threatening and incomprehensible and thus get ignored… even if (or maybe especially) they are incredibly brilliant, ground-breaking and useful.
Creativity permeates our whole lives. The domestic problems we solve are identical, from a process and neurological point of view, to the problems we solve at work and in business. The only difference is the context and the dots fed into the problem-solving process.
This is why Agile has spread so successfully from software development to management, why Kai Zen can be applied to sports and so on. Once you have a robust process, there is nothing stopping you from feeding new information through it.
The only reason I can see why someone may not do this is that it appears to be against the rules. That you’re not supposed to do it. This is an intriguing reaction, supposing as it does, that all the methods and answers are already known, and that therefore, appropriate processes are in place.
There is still so much unknown in this universe that this strikes me as being a little egotistical and misplaced. So next time you need to solve a problem, try bringing your entire human experience to the table. Blur those information boundaries a little and bend, blend and break away.
I know you will be pleasantly surprised.
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