OPPORTUNITIES BEFORE EFFICIENCIES

As the transmission of knowledge accelerates,…

…as more possibilities are manufactured, the unabated push of incremental growth also speeds up. In the long run, creating and seizing opportunities is what drives the economy. A better benchmark than productivity would be to measure the number of possibilities generated by a company or innovation and use the total to evaluate progress.

In the short run, though, problems must be solved. Businesses are taught that they are in the business of solving problems. Put your finger on a customer’s dissatisfaction, the MBAs say, and then deliver a solution. This bit of hoary advice inspires business to seek out problems. Problems, however, are entities that don’t work. They are usually situations where the goal is clear but the execution falls short. As in, “We have a reliability problem,” or “Customers complain about our late delivery.” In the words of Peter Drucker, “Don’t solve problems.” George Gilder distills the essence further: “When you are solving problems, you are feeding your failures, starving your successes, and achieving costly mediocrity. In a competitive global arena, costly mediocrity goes out of business.”

 

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-- KK