I’m Like A Balloon; I Work Better Under Pressure

March 20, 2008

Would the hydrogen car have been produced if the combustion engine was not harmful to the environment or if the resource upon which it depends was not depleting? Pretty good chance it wouldn’t be anymore than a thought. Why? Because we would have no need for scientists to be working on it, or industries and governments pushing those scientists to come out with the next big thing. The problem with innovation and invention is that it rarely happens unless there is a need or if there is a problem with the current solution. I got this idea from Seth‘s blog entry about “Opportunity of a Lifetime“. Humans have a nature desire to innovate and modify other’s designs to make it better or to suit their own preferences, but without a real need we would most likely just end up with a more efficient combustion engine.

The point to my post and some of the point of Seth’s post is that companies often don’t see the need to innovate or invent until they are already started on the downward spiral, when there is indeed something wrong. Any Economics professor of mine, Jim Sentence, once made a good point about the Canadian Economy when our dollar rose above the American dollar. I forgive Jim if I get this wrong, it’s not a direct quote but his basic point was that, while everyone was complaining that the falling exchange rate (currency appreciation) was going to hurt our Economy, he was excited for what this could do for the economic efficiency of the country. Basically Canada had been getting by pretty easy and not overly efficiently and now that there was a situation on their hand they had to adapt and clean up their act. The same is true for many companies in that they don’t really innovate until there is a threat or a problem on the rise.

So like a lot of people, and businesses (since they tend to have people in them) I work better under pressure. That is that once the pressure is on to actually do something then that is when the best work is done, because you know that if you don’t do it then you will get in trouble. Lets take Business Research for example, a lot of people (me) tend to leave things very late in the year and this can get you in trouble due to time constraints. However I do my best work when it comes down to the wire, and like many students I find it hard to get the motivation to do it before the last minute. I often don’t put it very high on my list of things to do until I absolutely have to. Businesses are the same way.

However students who do spread the paper out all over the year and can convince themselves that this is the best idea and will provide the best results. This is often true that the longer you spend doing it, and the more relaxed you are the results should be superior to a quick rush job due to a quickly approaching deadline. In business it is much the same, a business who can constantly look for ways to improve, and constantly and slowly work towards a goal will often succeed over and above the companies who leave things to the last minute, and leave innovation until there is a problem. Truth be told if you leave innovation till there is actually a problem, you are often to late to stay on top.

I guess being the car guy I’ll try to relate it to the automobile industry just to make this a little more interesting at 2:30 in the morning. Constantly trying to better your company, product or service in the absence of a problem is like preventive maintenance on a car. Just because you don’t have a problem doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make it better. Leaving problems until they arise and need a quick fix is often more expensive and can actually be the ruination of the car itself.

What I’m really saying is

So if you haven’t really started on Business Research GET GOING

Ok so I wrote this late at night and really didn’t make a point related to the technological side of it all.  basically what I was getting at is that most companies  as mentioned above wait to the last minute but I find newer web based companies have a slightly different method.  They don’t wait for there to be a problem, they create a solution to a problem we didn’t know we had or a problem we had just come to accept.  Take Del.icio.us for example most people most likely accepted the fact that they couldn’t access their links from their home computer while at work. But Del.icio.us gave us the solution to that problem.  Take Facebook as well before Facebook I really didn’t feel an empty hole in my soul that I couldn’t keep incontact with almost everyone I’ve ever met, or even facebook stalk them, I mean check up on what they are doing and not engage in conversation because there is most likely a good reason why we don’t keep in touch. But Facebook gave me the solution to the problem that I had come to accept that I would loose contact with most of my high school friends.  But as metioned above these businesses are quite guilty of not responding quick enough to problems. This will often get them into trouble, but sometimes it causes them to do very creative things.  There is a lot going on with the battles of the tech world between Microsoft and Google, Mac and PC, Silverlight and Flash, and the list goes on.  I think most of these big companies work much better when the pressure is on.

-TAG

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