Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Snowman on a Grassy Lawn

This weekend was a strange one is Southern Colorado. It is mid-April and we had a huge snow storm sweep through. However, it was that odd mix of warm weather and snow that produces a gigantic slushy the size of several counties.

We really enjoyed watching the snow fall and seemingly melt right into the layer of ice on the ground. After a while it started to accumulated. We got about 3-4 inches of the sloppy stuff. So when the snow stopped and the clouds began to clear, our family went out and made a snowman.

This was the most perfect snow for snowman making. Every role of that snow pulled up everything under it. In no time we had the four piece and began to assemble it.

Later that day as it got warmer, I looked out and saw something I had never seen before. Our snow man was standing on a lawn of green grass - like an ice sculpture at a party. That was a first for me and as I looked at it and thought about the hilarious contradiction, I had some thoughts about innovation.

The snow is a lot like ideas. There are times when the snow is falling and it seems like everyone has a winning idea. I have lived through a time like this in the late 90's. As those ideas fall and seem so plentiful, it is tempting to let they lie there knowing you can simply come back for one later.

But as many discovered during the dot com boom and then bust, most of those ideas and the opportunity to make them a reality did not stick around too long. The ideas that made it were ones that got built up, crafted and designed in the good years - like our snowman. The only reason he hadn't melted is because of the packed snow and the concentration of cold. The crafting helped him live on an entire day longer than the rest of the snow that had been laying on the ground.

Have you been paying attention to your ideas? Have you been crafting them and defining them when there is plenty of raw material around? Take the time to do so, because if you don't you will wake up and find your ideas have melted away.


Samuel said...

Jon, ideas flow and falls, ideas gets crafted, the role of the customer is also critical which possibly would allow innovation to take root both externally and internally.
Your thoughts?

Jon and Mindy Hirst said...


Great point! Without the recipient, innovation serves little purpose. The proactive crafting ensures that the idea actually gets to that recipient for their consideration. It is very possible that we will be proactive and develop our new idea in the new fallen snow but then have it rejected or considerably modified by the user. We have to be ok with this refining process because we are innovating for these people. If we are not willing to submit to their input, we are not truly serving them.