Absurd thinkers, apply here

room44 Ltd

19th October 2018

If you’re of a nervous disposition, look away now.

The Easter Bunny is a myth. I didn’t want to be the one to tell you, but it’s for your own good. I know it’s crushing, but there it is. And now it’s out in the open, there’s something else: chocolate milk doesn’t come from brown cows, although more than 16 million people in one single country think it does (I’m not saying which country – go look it up. You might not be surprised).

Was I surprised? When I heard the chocolate milk report, I’ll admit I was…and then again, I wasn’t – because, compared to what we see on TV every day, it isn’t that outrageous.

We’re drawn to the ludicrous, the mad, the unexpected, the absurd. We love novelty, risk, uncertainty, the bleeding edge of creativity – right up until we have to stand by a decision to back an outsider with our own money, reputation, career, business survival. Then it all goes wrong.

Working for a company that must return enough to please its shareholders has its drawbacks. You can take home your pay cheque every month, but you have to compromise on your craving for new and different. This is probably why there are so many entrepreneurs doing their own thing at the moment. The minute Gen Y realised that corporate life comes with a price tag, they took off to the coffee shops and co-working spaces to ditch their chinos and start up a new thing.

Will the new things work out? Well, maybe. If they do, the start-up may well sell out to the corporation, tolerate a tie-in, and then start over.

But the start-ups that the corporations can’t control are changing the world we live and work in. Corporations are losing out on creativity and innovation, because their systems and processes don’t allow for new thinking. Most of the time they resort to type and flip out new versions of their old VP to a cycle that was set way back in time. In the world of corporate business, everything changes while nothing changes at all. People come and people go, but the system stays in place: inflexible and unbending, because it’s always worked.

Happily, the new rules are testing the old guard. Eventually, AI will break them completely and throw them away. Until then, the baby steps of disruption taken every day by new companies will continue to nibble away at them. Recent high-profile failures have been testament to the fact that it’s not easy to see clearly from the inside: Toys R Us, House of Fraser and Jamie Oliver, the disruptive chef of our time, became complacent.

room44 is on a mission to change the way that corporations manage their brands and how they view risk when the innovative idea bubbles to the surface. We say, don’t deny an idea the opportunity to develop and grow, just because it doesn’t fit the company mould.

Many radical thinkers have made a stand on innovation, but it’s still not at the core of business planning. Sure, there are exceptions, you’ll see them featured in Wired and Fast Company every month. These businesses prove the rule. But I’m willing to bet that, if you work for a company bigger than 300 people, your management regularly smothers radical departure from the business of every day.

I’ll close with a quote from Arthur C. Clark. He had some strange ideas in his time, but he did say this: “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it.”

He also said: “Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases:

(1) It’s completely impossible

(2) It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing

(3) I said it was a good idea all along.”

If you want to jump straight to number 3, give us a call. It’s that easy. +44 208 144 9800

Seeing it differently. Future-proofing. It’s what we do.

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