Remember what your granddad used to tell you?
That famous piece of advice?
You know, that “When the world zigs, zags” thing?
i.e. Don’t be a sheep, don’t do the same stuff as everyone else?
It’s a pretty common trope in our society. Heck, even the great ad agency, BBH uses the idea as its official tagline, complete with black sheep as its logo.
Everybody knows what we’re talking about, right?
Everybody has internalized this idea in our highly individualized culture, right? That’s why we like Clint Eastwood and Toshiro Mifune films, right?
And yet here we are. Everybody is zigging in the same direction all of a sudden, away from the big cities, towards big, Zoom-powered houses in the boonies. Suddenly affordable country houses for sale are as rare as hen’s teeth. Again, it’s all that zigging.
The fact is, people are social animals. We LIKE to zig, we HATE to zag. The latter makes us really, really uncomfortable.
Ironically, when we think we’re zagging, we are probably still just zigging, and that brings us to innovation- and pardon the leap, but innovation is in part, the systemization of zagging, the ‘new’, the ‘different’. the ‘let’s stay ahead of the competition by zagging’ way of thinking.
Culture Science® teaches us that evolutionary biology provides a framework for the execution of culture change. Through the lens of evolutionary biology, we understand that transformational innovation must be created in completely separate gene pools. The places where people don’t even know who is zigging or zagging because they are doing something so radically different, like the jig.
As Henry Ford may have once said, “If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said, ‘faster horses’.”
This is why a real innovation culture in a business is really, really hard to cultivate. People’s first instinct is just to copy the competition with a tweak, and hope for the best.