We don't need headless people

I'm not sure that extensive experience of the past has ever been particularly helpful as we look into an increasingly uncertain future. As the issues and problems we deal with become ever more complex and uncertain, so our old ways of thinking become less relevant.

Even our 'old language' can subtly (or not so subtly) begin to structure our thinking in predictable ways. If we slide into our habitual jargon we move progressively into the 'ruts' that hold us in our habits and predictable routines.

Imagery and dialogue are ways to enter the kind of 'reflective practice' that enables to 'think about how we think' and question our taken-for-granted ways of working. As the saying goes, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got."  The same applies to our patterned way in which we think..

Last week I was working with Chris G who uses a process of 'making and curating' to stimulate innovation and change.  The delight of 'making' shifts us into a different kind of 'knowing' about our problems and new solutions can emerge. 

I realise that some of this stuff might feel a bit ethereal but Chris comes from the hard world of big engineering projects and had been doing a spot of 'making' with off-shore maintenance guys.  Through the making, in this case using Lego, they were able to articulate concerns about some of their daily practice and improve their safety performance.

The big deal, they decided, was that they didn't need 'headless' people.

People who don't, won't or can't think and reflect about what is easily taken for granted have no place in the hazardous off-shore world.

They are simply too dangerous.

For any of us interested in tackling the 'BIG' problems that face us, it's a good lesson.


Steve MarshallComment