At first this maxim seems controversial, perhaps even destructive and unsustainable. But if applied to the immaterial, it makes perfect sense while offering a very pertinent lesson.
Any new product, service, or business, is the result of replacing an old idea with a new one – replacing an old assumption with a new approach.
Being innovative, then, requires that we dismantle and displace beliefs, expectations, and hypotheses that keep us bound to reproducing past results. What has worked thus far is not a prophetic indication for what may work best going forward.
As author and cartoonist, Hugh MacLeod has said, “far too many companies still rely on tweaking what exists as opposed to reinventing.” The only way to pioneer the ‘new’ is to estrange yourself from the old.
“So it comes down to knocking out some walls,” writes MacLeod, “and encouraging others to do the same. You’ve seen what this old method can do, so get it out of the way to let new ideas work some magic for a little while… Until, of course, it’s time to trash that for whatever is next.”
*Maxim attribute: Hugh MacLeod
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