“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
– William Gibson
Decision, decisions. Users are screaming to pay money for your service, but your current infrastructure is going to pop like a balloon if you let any more sign up. Or your cumbersome deployment process has slowed enterprise sales to a crawl as your small support team runs themselves ragged.
Is your competition widening the feature gap due to your lengthy test and release cycle? How can you process all that customer data into useful trends? Your decisions today will mean soaring profit or smoldering ruin. How will you solve these problems? Traditional answers to these questions lead many organizations down roads from which they never return. But in the future? Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…
You may have tried incremental approaches that were so incremental that nothing changed. You may have attempted full system overhauls, only to have the budget and schedule blow up in your face while the problems remained – or got worse. Or you may not even know where to start.
Usually the problem isn’t a lack of skill. It’s not a lack of commitment. Or an aversion to hard work. No, what’s holding you back is a failure of imagination.
Most people self-censor (whether they are aware of it or not), limiting themselves to what they think is possible. We tend to stick to what we know how to do or have seen others do. Because we cannot see a path to the future we would like to see, we fail to see that future at all.
Ironically, when we come across someone who did manage to transcend these mental limits, we say that they “saw what others could not see”. Actually these visionaries see less than others – they don’t see the walls that block others’ view of a better world. They don’t impose restrictions on the future. The difference is that they believe in magic.
So forget what you and the people around you already know how to do. Forget what you have time to do. Forget what you have the budget to do. Forget what you think others will let you do. Instead, ask yourself:
If I could wave a magic wand and make the solution appear, what would it look like?
Ignore how you are going to get there and just think about what things will look like once you arrive. You need to believe.
Working backwards from a “magical” solution will result in a better real world solution than you can get to by crawling forward on your belly around obstacles you find along the road.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
— Arthur C. Clarke
With the future of your business at stake, you need a new approach for solving your tough problems. Help your teams break through preconceptions that hold them back. Envision systems unrestrained by the limits of traditional development tools. Design the right solution to grow your business. Technologies now exist that enable small teams to build enterprise-grade solutions on schedules and budgets that not long ago really would have required a pointy hat and cloak.
You can attempt to solve customer problems with the traditional approach. But are you planning the right solution? Or just what you can put together with the tools and ideas inside the barriers that have accreted across your organizational field of vision? Or will you forget what is and imagine what could be, without preconceived limitations and constraints? Don’t settle for a faster horse – demand a rocket ship. This may be the path less traveled, but it will make all the difference.
Originally posted at cognitect.com