I once heard the tale of a Toad who lived in a small pond hidden inside a cave far below the surface. The only rays of light that managed to reach the pond came through a hole that seemed too far even for he and his relative’s minds to explore. One day, he decided to venture beyond the hole from where he saw light. When he returned from his adventure, he began telling everyone how vast the outside world was, how much light there was, how many beautiful trees and flowers there were and most of all, the endless swarm of insects to eat. They laughed him to scorn claiming the world could not be any bigger than their little pond. he gave up on them and moved all by himself into the outside world.
The Box is that region of thought where we are confined to until our horizon is broadened by some out-of-the-ordinary experience or exposure. The Box is the boundary set on our minds by tradition as well as the routine experiences of those in our limited circle of friends and family. The Box is what age-long institutions have established as the norm, the rule of law or the ‘core policies’. The Box is that limitation which sometimes drowns innovation.
The Box is difficult to break out of without upsetting the status quo; difficult to break out of without a rebellion of sorts. The Box is often the main stream until someone dares to get out of the Box and begin a new mainstream. The anti-Boxes of our generation are demonstrated in Microsoft’s breakthrough in Personal Computing, Facebook’s breakthrough in Social Networking, Google’s breakthrough in Knowledge Management, The Nigerian Govenerment’s introduction of mobile telephony, Interswitches introduction of ATM networks, Ushahidi’s web-based Crisis Tracking system and so on. These innovations and the like have changed the way we live on all sides – business, careers, communication, relationships etc.
Innovation often requires that people break out of the main stream, and that traditional thought patterns be changed. Innovation requires that we look at the problem from another angle. The problems we are faced with today combined with the complexities of the 21st century demand that we begin to look at this things quite differently, that we think not just deeper, but wider. Welcome to a future with new solutions.
Be at the Platform on 7th May 2011. www.theplatformnigeria.com.