By Lars Lundbye
America was discovered when Christopher Columbus literally sailed outside the charts! This occurred in spite of the best knowledge about sea routes and navigation, in spite of the established charts, and in spite of his captains’ and crew’s objections. Ferdinand Magella’s expedition in 1520 would not have happened if he had listened to his expert navigators – the Pacific Ocean might still be pacific. These two anecdotes are perfect examples for understanding why the technocracy that characterizes the modern organization, private or public, systematically evades the radical innovations everybody is asking for. All good analysts long to uncover the world and systemize it.
The problem arises when the world becomes complex - when the world cannot be contained in the "correct analysis". The challenges of an increasingly changing world ever more rapid changing, the furious globalization, environmental problems, the digitisation of everything, urbanization, changing consumer attitudes, individualisation, etc., cannot be maintained with handled by an analysis. On the contrary.: The ever- increasing complexity of the contemporary organization – and of the world – creates great demands on our capacity for change, – and demanding constant creative interpretation, transformation and improvisation.
The better we become, the more educated our managers and employees get and the better and more accurate charts we draw, the more we run the risk of always sailing within the chart – doing the same thing over and over. With perfect charts we know all about the competition, we know all about the customer's location in the market, we know everything about our supply chain, etc.
We become more and more controlling, more and more precise in our navigation. And less and less creative and innovative. Stand up and fight for the extraordinary knowledge outside the chart.