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Are Ideas Broken?


In the process of managing and growing effective organizations, it is often said that each organization needs a mission.

This is true.

Unfortunately, in all too many instances, the missions that are listed are too unfocused, too meaningless, and too analytical to make much of a difference as a guiding force for the organization and the people that fulfill the mission.

The same is certainly happening for the tasks and objectives that many organizations are undertaking.

In many instances, organizations are doing what they have already done, what they have always done, and some combination of the two.

Picking up a new tasks, a new endeavor, or a new idea isn’t always a top of mind occurrence.

Many reasons can be given for that, but the most likely answer in most cases is that no one takes the responsibility of eliciting change within the organization.

We are at an interesting time in our culture, where “golden parachutes” for executives that have led their organizations to catastrophic failures and breaches are the norm.

This isn’t new either.

This kind of environment has existed pretty much since the Enron failure back in the early 2000s. And, likely longer.

Due to these undeserved, but guaranteed “golden parachutes” we have an environment where innovation and change aren’t really prized and promoted in the ways that we need them to be to generate new opportunities and new wealth in our country.

Instead, we are dealing with more and more situations where what is happening is that the bare minimum is continued and only the minimally essential is undertaken.

Seth Godin talked about the future being ruled by small businesses, but I’m not so sure. The story of Silicon Valley lately has been one of unnecessary products or tools that are in search of a challenge.

If you look at government, the ROI of ideas isn’t much better.

Government is a stagnant and rotting beast right now due in no small part to the rot of ideas and willingness of the modern Republican party to crater the country in pursuit of their most radical and unpopular ideas.

That’s not a political statement, but one of reality because when you have a bunch of different ideas and pieces of legislature that aren’t being acted upon or taken up because a minority party is in power, there is something vitally wrong with the role of government.

It feels like the defining idea of this moment in American culture is the concept of being broke.

We are broke for new ideas. We are broke for creativity to solve challenging issues. Our economy is broken in its ability to provide opportunities and hope for millions. Our government is broken in the fact that we don’t have the will or ability to have anything done on behalf of the majority of Americans.

In fact, broken is the heart of the need for people to go along with the majority and/or to follow in the footsteps of the path of least resistance. Instead of freedom to think and freedom to act on differing ideas, we find that more and more it is a small number of particularly loud voices that drive and deliver the marching orders and the opinions that everyone else drives forward.

The idea seems to be at an inflection point right now.

We don’t have the strength to offer up opposing points of view and if the majority offers up an opinion, right or wrong, everyone jumps on one side or the other.

That’s not a healthy position to find ourselves in.