Everything in the modern world started as an idea. If it isn’t provided by nature, then at some point it was just an idea. The problem with ideas however, is that once we have a good one, we often forget that we need to build on them. Ideas are a continuum, not an event.
The game of basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith in the USA to provide a lower impact sport than Football. It isn’t too dissimilar from what we observe today. A quirky fact, is that in its first iteration fruit baskets where used to catch the ball. Seems like a pretty cool idea to get the first few games underway. But here’s what’s astounding. It wasn’t until 21 years after they started playing that they cut a hole in the baskets so the ball would drop to the floor. And yep, you guessed it, they used to use a ladder to get the balls out. For 21 long years!
There’s lots more of examples just like it: The can opener came 48 years after canned food. Wheels on suitcases weren’t common place until 50 years after the start of air travel. It makes you wonder how many crappy things could be fixed if we just took the original idea that little bit further.
Likewise some ideas become outdated – their time is up and we all move on. This is where we need to be careful. We need to make sure we don’t end up in an industry, or job which ‘as an idea’ is becoming outdated. When ideas become outdated, industries die and careers can too.
At some point we all need to find new ideas, and sometimes we even need to find new towns – especially if the one we are living in is based on an old, outdated industrial idea. Entire towns have been built around the ideas of yesteryear. This time however, we’ve all been given the dignity of choice – we can reinvent ourselves, and even our towns if we choose to. The digital world knows no geography. The biggest challenge with this idea though, is getting people to really believe it.
Maybe we need a big idea. Or just maybe, all we need is a small change, to just cut a hole in the basket and see where our ball lands.
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