Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Apr 2018

Cutting New Roads

Somewhere in the weeds, or maybe beyond the bushes with the hard bristles and leaves, is that thing you and your team have been looking for. This isn’t a prophecy saying that you are looking; nor is it an inevitability you will be there when the rest of your team finds it. This is just an acknowledgement that the space between current state and ideal state isn’t exactly a road which has been paved before. If this thing you are pursuing is indeed worth what you dream it is, then you will cut the road there - not follow it.

This is what makes innovation more or less difficult - and definitely not the normal course of affairs. In our humanity, we don’t like a certain type of friction. We like things to be easier. Shoot - Avanceé has done a decent job directing current and potential clients towards making work easier by implementing automated workflows in spaces. This isn’t abnormal to want for something great to come with a minimal amount of effort. However, its untrue to see simplicity and efficiency within the framing of easier. Simplicity and efficiency, that thing in which your ideal state is realized, is more like being on a road you are cutting anew.

In one of our prospective projects, cutting a new road looks like a new integration of software, a CNC milling machine, and an exponentially growing body of workers. Sure, there are companies which have managed this shift. And certainly some of those with some similar elements to this one. However, they aren’t this company. They aren’t this body of people. And certainly, they don’t have the shape of market this one has. So what happens here is a new road cut. There will be tools and methods pulled from similar frames. The redesign of consumer, user, business and technical frames will be different. And it should be. It will also be full of thorns. Because this road isn’t one they can see the end of by rising higher (one might argue that being higher in the org might actually blind them to the eventual destination).

So then what? Do you pull back towards what’s been comfortable? Or, do you embrace what’s on the other side of those weeds and thickets - pushing past the eventual cuts and blossoms to what’s on the other side of this forest? We think you will. We don’t just think so, but we will be there with you figuring out the shape of the road we are making and the path being left for others. Making work easier will happen. Making work valuable is part of the outcomes. Cutting that road is just a part of what it takes to go beyond where you are right now.

The way work looks going forward will require looking at a lot of this differently. That’s going to be a different road of its own also. And yet, those who see something different will cut it. Others will find those roads and invent their own spaces alongside it.

Image via Think Digital Travel’s Twitter of Gerd Leonhard’s latest talk.