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Poke the Box | Draw Your Map and Go

“Innovation is mysterious.  Inspiration is largely unpredictable,” speaks Seth Godin.  His new book, “Poke the Box,” is an 83-page sermon on what it means to start and ship new ideas.

If we were to reminisce on our younger selves, it’s a seemingly naïve picture. I’m talking really little, around the age when we are still creating a constant ruckus.  This is because “kids initiate.  They create situations.  They start ruckuses.  All of them.”  Then what happened?

According to Godin and Ken Robinson, our creativity gets marginalized somewhere along the way to adulthood.  The industrial age instilled a suffocating culture of compliance among American workers, for which public education has attempted to prefab its students.  We are directed by a “without defects” mentality.  As we mature, both in school and in our careers, a creative spunk is picked from our brains for the sake of efficiency.

Too often, we are inspired by models that already exist.  We identify with a visual preconception of what success looks like!  If you want to be paid to eventually look like somebody else, then send your resume to Wall Street.  In due time, and with enough consistency, you will be extremely comfortable.

On the other hand, you could take the initiative.  Look at the way we drive ourselves to work! Literally:  plug in an address that is already there and a Tom-Tom will take you the rest of the way.  But the best ideas are not the ones that already exist, nor are they those that remain the same.  Indeed, the most successful companies are those that have a cultural focus on initiative, those that have “more than one person creating change.” This is because “we reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.”

Too often again, individuals with creative ideas are simply waiting to be chosen.  To be clear, this is “an expensive misunderstanding.”

If Godin means to send any single message, it is this: “Go!”

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