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The systems we design

The systems we design
If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old
Peter Drucker

My mum will not knit at night”
“My Boss said the files must be kept at 45 degree angle”
“Our tribe doesn’t dance when the fire goes off ”
“When I was your age, we weren’t allowed to voice our opinions ”

From the tribal display of an antiquated society to running a company in the 21st century, there is the disputation over our cultural system(s), the acceptance of status quo, the upholding of ‘the way we are,’ the revolt and defiance to the existing institutions. The question is, who designed those systems? How effective are the systems? What is the cost of such system? Why was the system institutionalized with these evident parameters?

Time, handlers of information & experiences are the weavers of behavioral exhibitions, the very liability of our passivity; with systems, life is either regimented or adventurous, consequential or disconnected, frivolous or realistic, profitable or obligatory.

The optimal solution is to ‘root out’ unfavorable ideologies and embrace the disruptive approach. The disruptive approach gives rise to new innovation, better ways, modernity, new perspectives, shift in paradigms; we should bear the consequences to find our aspirations. Even when a system is tested, tried and trusted, there is always room for improvement.

Through the eye of a Child

Through the eye of a Child
Children are our most valuable natural resources
Herbert Clark

Stupid thing to do? See through the eye(s) of a child sometimes. Ask a child his solution to a problem. We have heard of and had those “power moments” of brainstorming, the big board meeting, the big tables and the big chairs, the markers with big wigs and their gadgets that lead to nothing.

Adults could be regimented because of their formed opinion and experience but the heart of a child is always inquisitive, curious and wanting to know. Children aren’t afraid of making mis-take, they see the fun in the activity, and are willing to make ‘trying’ a tool for exploration. Everybody thinks. Everybody including children thinks. This is the age of Experience. Children are quick to state their experiences about places, products and services.

I once went to a “Bank” in Nigeria, after spending half an hour on the queue, a child next to me said, “Mummy, I don’t like this place!” Those lines triggered my thinking system. I was curious to know why he said so. Was it because of the crowd, the long queue, the time spent and wasted? I asked the child, “Why don’t you like this place?” He said, ‘cause he needed to go do his homework’. For the Child, other than spending long time in the bank, there are priorities of his to be taken care of; perhaps the Bank didn’t know that the long queue is an indicator of ineffectiveness. Of course you will say that the Bank is not an environment for play or a classroom for working on an assignment, but what if the bank makes her brand homely & friendly? What if the bank redesigns its process of attending to customers? What if there is a special section for nursing mothers, for physically challenged? What if the bank values the time of my client’s client invariably? When as a business or a freelancer you have succeeded at making your client’s client better, then you are in business.

The creative prowess of a child can be utilized to solve a problem. Children are valuable natural resources. Don’t be afraid to ask a child to come up with a recipe, the prototype of your next product, the sketch/wireframes of your next app, the answer to your research questionnaire, the script for your next play… The result might be the next BIG THING; the result might just be phenomenal.

The God Factor

The God Factor
Our greatest dignity as creatures is not in initiative but in response. God speaks, we hear. He knocks, we open
C. S. Lewis

Ihave chewed the knob of my pen and left the nib idle in time past, I have sought the stars at night and had to wait till dawn if inspiration will rise with it; I have tried to fill the air with substance but all that was left was the intellectual dust. I have had days without inspiration, days that the client demanded result or else, the cheque is not gonna be signed. There are days the ‘world inside’ is clumsy, that we have this inward uneasiness, that the mind knows nothing but the ‘writer’s block’, that the brainwave frequency is flat due to several interferences, that the inspiration dead-end is met, there will be such days. The best place to seek solution is to have an external influence for immediate opening and revelation. In the words of Og Mandino, “ Who is of so little faith that in a moment of great disaster or heartbreak has not called to his God? Who has not cried out when confronted with danger, death, or mystery beyond his norm experience or comprehension?

There is ‘the God factor’ in processes, in making, in designing, in planning, in invention, in modification, in coordination, in creativity. There is no veil that can conceal him in our affairs. He’s very evident in acts. I myself, I have reasoned God: He’s unreasonable, the reason I go to him for reason. The best advice I give to myself is to call him in the days when revelation streams less. He’s the Creative Force “…and the Word became flesh”.

Don’t beat yourself up against it further whenever you are short of revelation, inspiration or insight; all I’m saying or have been saying is simple: believe in your heart, call Him, he will tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’

Seek continuous education

Seek continuous education

I once told a ‘pastor’ that he needs knowledge of project management, he looked at me and said, “but I am not into construction business”. It took another 10 minutes to outline how project management could make his ministry better and effective.

You walk into a hospital and you see the nonchalant attitude of the registering officer, I say, “you need a customer service development training”. You walk into an establishment and you see the disarray and disorganization of things, “I say you need training on project management”. When a delivery or courier service fails regularly to deliver on due period, then the need for time management course. When a fashion designer doesn’t not adhere to the work defined by his clients or has added materials or pattern beyond documented design (gold plating) I say, “he or she has no understanding of scope management”. Ineffectiveness of a system is a pointer to an area for adjustment, remedy, modification and development. No knowledge loss as long as it makes your profession, product(s) or service(s) better. The exposure to industry standard/process gives the edge sooner or later.

There are courses I recommend for everybody e.g. design thinking, project management, customer care, strategic management, leadership management regardless of the office you are occupying or your designation.

We are always lacking in one area or the other, the remedy is to seek knowledge and improve our effectiveness and services to others daily.