A sign caught my eye on the way to work one morning. There are advertisements everywhere and why this one caught my eye, I am not sure. I suppose it was the fact that the delivery vehicle had a large toilet paper roll on the outside of the truck. Clayton Paper, a local company, had an advertisement with the message (paraphrased) “There will always be a need for paper.” Below the quote was a large roll of toilet paper. While I find the advertisement effective for now – I started to drift in thought. I started to think about alternatives to using toilet paper. I mean, after all, there are some now. Granted, they are not as widely used, accepted, or even known to some folks. Yet, there I was – pondering.
Later on that day while I was teaching a 5S course, I ran into a few situations where I had to shift some paradigms. “We have always done it this way,” or “It will never change.” We are creatures of habit – and I am just as guilty not liking change from time to time. I also do not have a business (Clayton) riding on a model with that philosophy. I did look at the company’s website; they have a large amount of other items for the marketplace. Again, I still come back to the thought process that lead me down the rabbit hole. That is, why do we think of now and the future in terms of what we know vs. reconceiving what could be? When I purchased my first computer I had 4 GB of space and 256K RAM. The current modem was a 26K modem and we used a land line to dial in to our ISP. I tell you this because while I was buying the unit – I was worried about space. “You will never fill up 4 gigs,” a convincing Gateway salesperson said. Today, I do not have a jump drive smaller than 16. In fact the last movie that I copied to my PC was over 4 gigs.
A business needs to develop a solid plan for each fiscal year. In those plans, there should be a detailed plan as to when and where the money is going to come from. Projects should be feasible and realistic to the times. You would not want to bank on a large savings from non existent technology unless, of course, you are pioneering the way with lots of research for credibility. I would propose, however, that in your idea chest you keep a section of ideas that could happen some day. Through each ideation session, capture the ideas and revisit old ideas. Eventually the ideas will be pruned out or come alive based on new developments. To be cutting edge, or progressive (as I have heard it coined), you should think of what could be… I do not think you would want to build an empire on high risk unknowns, but there should be a small percentage that you can tap into at a later date.
Clayton Paper did not do anything wrong. They just happened to spark a considerable amount of wandering in my thoughts. I think that the only wrong thing we could do is assume that what we have will never need to change.
Hope the week is treating you well!