Thick as two short planks
15 November 2018
I’ve been thinking about efficiency, recently. Not just the casual sort of shave 500 meters off my journey efficiency but deep, scale, change the efficiency of a population of millions efficiency.
It’s quite odd.
Many aspects are counter intuitive. Certainly there are many cases of the bleeding obvious (insulate your loft, why wouldn't you?), but on closer examination, the reasons why the world doesn’t actually work that way are often not logical but behavioural, systemic and emotional.
Like me, many of you have been looking at the garden and procrastinating the annual autumnal leaf clearing. I have a rake, which takes ages and makes little piles that you need to then scoop up. This leaves more leaves and you rake again. I have a leaf blower, too. OK for dry leaves, but wet November leaves, not so much.
How I've always done it.
So cue my epiphany.
I was driving to work last week when I saw a chap getting in there early and clearing his leaves. (I've been waiting for next door's oak tree to drop, but it's not gone yet). Here's the thing - he wasn't raking, he had two fence planks, which he used to scoop up the leaves and drop directly into his bin.
Not innovative for some, but a game changer for dumbo 'rake and repeaters' like me.
That got me thinking, that in order for my adoption of that innovation, I had to be ready. I had to be receptive, open to the idea, motivated to change, interested in the subject and who knows how many other factors.
And I'm just one leaf raker, in a population of millions. Small efficiency gain.
At a population scale, those few percent add up, but it's so much more difficult to influence these adoption behaviours, systemically, without the individual lightbulbs going on.
Transport, Healthcare, Government. Do more with less, is the mantra. "Onward, you'll figure it out!", they said.
So for those with workforces in the thousands or millions, it's not easy, but the rewards are great.
If that's you, give me a call - we've proven, scalable efficiency improvements, in spite of cultural resistance to change and I'd love to swap perspectives.
I'll leave you to those leaves, they won't clear themselves! But remember, how thick your planks are is up you you.