the usefulness of hierarchies?

‘Fearful that we’ll expose our incompetence, we hide.  Remembering the lessons of childhood, we wait to be picked.  But the Peter Possibility points out that we’re far more competent than we imagine.  That once we pick ourselves, we have precisely what we need to do generous work.’*

Seth Godin is here turning the Peter Principle around into the Peter Possibility.

Michael Bhaskar introduces me to #firstworldproblems – such as the “pain” we experience when the wifi isn’t working fast enough.  Citing Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualisation, and acknowledging we’re at the top of the pyramid, he writes this about our first world problems:

‘It’s all a big joke and quite how vacuous we have become.  Yet it also reflects something significant.  That problems really have changed.  That more is not always more.’**

Bhaskar questions whether the things creativity produces at the top of the pyramid is always a net positive.

I’m not a lover of hierarchies but perhaps there is an exception at play here.  To see this, we need to place an inverted pyramid alongside Maslow’s original.  Now we see the possibilities of creativity in each of the levels of need being useful in needs of the adjoining, just as we have most probably benefitted from someone’s creativity in the pyramid adjoining our own.

Bernadette Jiwa captures something of this when she writes about innovation in this way:

‘True innovation isn’t about finding an alternative that gets us from A to B; it’s about envisaging news As and Bs.  It’s about being open to redefining where problems begin and where solutions must end and working out why it matters that we make these new connections or forge different paths.’^

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: The Peter Possibility.)
(**From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)
(^From Bernadette Jiwa’s Hunch.)

(I’m going to be taking a break for a couple of days but I’ll aim to put up a few doodles after the weekend.)

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