There’s a lot of change going on in the business world right now. The proliferation of digital technology means the scope of what can be achieved is large, but so is the potential to lose one’s way. When there’s a company on the line, or a limited budget with which to achieve transformation, the pressure adds up.
Sometimes though, it’s about being mindful of the journey, rather than going hell-for-leather towards your destination. Worrying about surviving technological change, while natural, can actually lead to a business missing the point: that change can enable and enhance an organisation in ways that playing it safe never will.
Take today’s infographic from GetVoIP on the accidents that have created innovations we couldn’t imagine living without. Consistent through all the stories is the pivoting that researchers have taken upon being thrown (or accidentally dropping) a curveball.
Imagine, for instance, if the inventor of matches, John Walker, had ignored the way his struck stick caught easily on fire, instead continuing to create new pharmaceuticals. Or if Roy Plunkett, discoverer of Teflon had ignored the chemicals he wasn’t looking for, single-mindedly trying to find new chlorofluorocarbons. What would our lives today look like?
At the very least, the Sunday fry-up would be a very different and much more cumbersome adventure in breakfasting, that’s for sure.
Instead, history is littered with those who have found value where they least expected it, and importantly, took the time to ask ‘what if?,’ even when it wasn’t directly pointing towards their future vision. Importantly, this shouldn’t be confused with a lack of direction or dabbling willy-nilly in whatever comes along. In fact, having clarity over where you are going is, perhaps counterintuitively, crucial to being able to examine life’s little accidental innovations, assess their merit, and, when needed, pivot to take advantage of them.