Having Flexibility on the outside and the (business) brand at the core makes sense for organisations wanting their clients to experience their own unique version of the brand. Caterers, publishers, movie makers & evangelical religious leaders take this approach. Their clients might say, ‘I don’t know what I want, but I’ll pay good money (and invest my soul) when I see it.’ The brand values are a molten core, radiating outwards into the client experience. Consistency where it exists, isn’t across the client base. But across the repeat experience of a given client.
Then there are organisations who put Flexibility at the heart and wear their brand on the outside. You can’t think of their brand without valuing the innate flexibility within it. The likes of Google, Wikipedia, hospital groups, research-led universities and legal systems take this approach. Their customers might say, ‘what insights can my interaction with this brand reveal?’ There is consistency of experience across the user base. But if the product evolves, a given customer’s experience may vary over time.
So what does this tell us? Creating a sustainable brand is necessary. Figuring out whether to put Business Flexibility at its centre, or on its surface, is what makes your brand sufficient.
It probably works for personal flexibility too.
At the time of writing (late Aug 2019) there are at least two pressing Brexit problems that will need a technology solution to ride in and save the day. The first is a practical technology solution to avoid the need for an ‘Irish backstop’. If achieved and quickly demonstrable, the UK won’t have to exit the EU on 31 October 2019, on a default, ‘no deal’ basis.
A second, related issue is about UK rubbish recycling, pre and post Brexit. At present, quoting the 6pm BBC news on 22nd Aug, loads of UK rubbish is exported to the EU (Sweden & Holland) for conversion into energy, under existing EU agreements.
Meanwhile app developers and inventors every day come up with (trivial) tech solutions, seeking a business or social problem to solve.
Wouldn’t it be grand if a tech company or two quickly presented a compelling solution to the backstop problem, saving Britain and its EU colleagues from a ‘no deal’ aftermath.
And if a science solution quickly emerged to provide UK onshore waste recycling on masse, (so no need to send to landfill, perhaps with intermediate stockpiling) as well?
Am I the only one keeping my fingers crossed?
Are binary choices becoming an endangered species? Flexibility on binary seems to go in one of two directions:
(1) There is the conversion from binary to a spectrum instead.
- Oscillation along the spectrum between two limits is useful for bird flight, in juggling and in art. Or to make songs more interesting.
- Computers to date have been binary, but quantum computing uses more of a spectrum approach.
- Expert amateurs and novice professionals existing between the states of expert professional and rank amateur.
- Logic used to be binary. Then we recognised fuzzy logic as useful too.
- Governments generally moved away from binary sentencing in the justice system (death penalty or not, innocent or guilty) to concepts of restitution, share of blame, clemency and degree of penalty.
- Human genders used to be recognised as male or female. Now we recognise a trans gender spectrum.
- Political parties used to cluster around left wing or right wing. Now simultaneous local, national and trans-national identities feature just as prominently for voters.
(2) There is two merging into one united view, perhaps to realise synergies.
- Humans used to combine our skills with nature’s raw materials (binary). It was obvious what was created by nature and what was created by people. Then we invented technology and eventually added synthetic biology to natural biology. We also augmented our own design approaches with computer-aided design & build. Then came computer-generated design & build, with its merging of physical and digital reality into augmented and virtual reality. And its blending of natural and synthetic biology.
- People’s identity started when they were conceived. And their actions ceased when they died. Now people can pre-programme digital events (including posts) to happen after they think they will die. It then becomes possible to give the digital appearance of human life, after actual physical death.
What do you think?
I’m waiting in the Heathrow arrivals area, people watching over a coffee when I write this.
Airports, they epitomise binary- departures and arrivals, flying or waiting, the tide of travellers flooding corridors, or empty passageways & waiting areas. Business flexibility or personal flexibility. Jaded solo business class travellers, or excited family members about to go on holiday together.
Airports also represent a vibrant economy sustained by adventure and business meetings. Service providers have time to kill. A process schedule to meet and travellers to delight. Travellers have a fear of the unknown to kill. A flight schedule to meet. And duty free shopping to delight.
In an age of high definition travel films, virtual conference calls, digital gaming adventure and loads of digital ways to contact our nearest & dearest, we still need to fly somewhere to experience things in person. And it’s not from the novelty of flying in a plane for the first time.
With airports, the (hydro) carbon footprint from all those flights is huge. Yet the silicon footprint alternative just doesn’t cut it. Flying may take longer. But it seems that our love affair with what it enables, seems as popular as ever.
Wikipedia defines ‘imposter syndrome’ as ‘a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.’
For those who work in areas where there is a relatively smooth, easy journey to celebrity status – models, TV presenters, interviewers, lead singers (who don’t do the song writing) and natural disaster survivors, it’s not hard to see why they might have such feelings.
Apparently many people of both genders have feelings of imposter syndrome from time to time. But because it makes people feel more anxious and vulnerable, it’s not something we’re likely to share freely. The trick is to see imposter syndrome as a choice we make. Not a mantle given to us.
Just as some people amplify their achievements to gain advantage, others take an opposite approach (under promise and over deliver). Merit takes time to form. And reputations are built on a string of milestones (but lost after a single adverse event).
Every day, people encounter novel situations, testing their leadership skills, imagination and adaptability. Therefore, if we can’t shake the monkey sitting on one shoulder whispering ‘you’re an imposter at this’, it’s up to us to encourage another monkey to sit on our other shoulder. One that says, ‘so what if you’re new to this. Flexibility rules. Do your best and see where that takes you!’
So much focus on machines taking people’s jobs. So little focus on the proportion of total work tasks done by machine versus human. And how that’s changing over time.
So much focus on machines taking over human jobs. So little focus on human biases & negative emotions in the workplace, holding back human productivity and job creation.
If it can be easily traded and easily validated, it can be easily automated.
Differentiate on human flexibility in niches that machines cannot be flexible in. It starts with better understanding human flexibility – something big and hiding in plain sight.
Increasing efficiency by machines leads to commoditisation. Increasing ingenuity by humans leads to monopoly pricing. Therefore whether human or machine, play to your strengths.
First there were village artisans and locally sustainable producers that their communities valued. Then came synthetic commodities and mass consumerism, produced by an industrialised and increasingly automated market economy, fuelled by consumer debt. It’s a test of human flexibility how much to bend the arc of future progress, in favour of globally sustainable, artisan goods and services.