Strengthening Idea Fragility
With the help of iPlayer I’ve managed to watch national treasure Stephen Fry‘s travelogue throughout America. His goals featured visiting each of their 50 states whilst celebrating the USA and its ideals, rather than mock and dismiss, as he felt was currently the vogue.
On the last (Pacific) leg of his journey, being an Apple freak he naturally happened across their designer-in-chief, responsible for the sexiness of iPod et al. Once of Essex, now permanently of California, our host enquired of him how come arguably the two most influential “Brits” of the last thirty years (he and web ‘inventor’ Tim Berners-Lee) had both left Blighty to settle in The States. Jonny Ive gave a reply that sent shudders through my English selling spine.
He was only on-screen a matter of seconds, but you immediately sensed you could build a hard-hitting thesis around what this guy let on. One that could have serious impact for action in his birthplace.
His initial comments talked about his adopted environment having “a conspicuous lack of cynicism”. He described ideas as “fragile”. They were often “silent”. It was easy for them to be “snuffed out”. His implication was abundantly clear. America is a place where ideas are allowed to fly. They’re given airtime. Due consideration often leads to committed action. The UK is not that kind of place.
As someone that’s pretty much sold new concepts and ideas in England all my career, this really strikes a chord. I usually find myself inside corporate cultures where people pay lip-service to change. They’ll be surrounded by the notion of it, acknowledge it, perhaps even verbally laud it. Yet when push comes to shove, they preserve the status quo. Wrong answer.
So maybe “Jonny” can provide some light for me, and people that share my daily experiences. If someone seems as though they’re not on board, why not try and smoke them out at source?
“Which aspect of this idea could potentially attract someone’s cynicism?” No-one would take kindly to being labelled a cynic, so framed correctly you could gain significant insight and traction.
“Where do you reckon this idea could be at its most fragile?” Why not flush out the weak points instead of waiting for them to fester into show-stoppers?