“I think people really get stuck with learning new ways. If you’re learning from a book then you are learning how to learn, and what to learn. If you have an entirely open mind and look at anything then you’re open to new things and ideas. I’m always trying new stuff and experimenting on myself with this. There are other ways out there.”
A powerful paragraph indeed.
The speaker quoted was lamenting the adherence we have to history and that much of our so-called innovation is about doing the same thing quicker, faster, lighter, stronger, but still doing the same thing.
He has challenged conventional wisdom within his chosen profession. He has asked the hard question of “why” and all too often received the answer “because that 's what we have always done and it is the known and proven way”, or words to that effect.
What’s more, even when he had researched, tested and proven scientifically there are better methods and conventional wisdom is lacking a basis in fact, obstacles were placed in his way. Many of the practices being challenged had been chiselled in stone for 100 years or more.
Conventional education is valuable and important, but education is largely content based with little time spent on practical application of learned skills. The conventional approach is to teach/learn the content, full stop.
Graduates then move in to the workplace and in many cases, results dictate the quality of role and quality of employer. Or, who has best absorbed the content.
Having started work, the employer discourages innovation from their most recently qualified individuals. The ones who are actually their least institutionalised thinkers.
Look around your office. See the graduate who started 6 months ago and is beavering away happily and studiously. Does that person feel empowered to express, to be creative? Has anyone, have you, engaged with them, perhaps asked what their particular area of interest was when at University or College?
How revealing would it be to simply ask “what has surprised you most about working here and what you do”? or asked “What do you see here that you feel is just silly?”.
The response could be insightful, fresh, frightening and valuable.
Give it a go.
As for the person quoted in the paragraph above.
His name is Australian Professional Cyclist Adam Hansen who has competed in 17 consecutive, 3 week long Grand Tours and in a few weeks, will start the Tour of Spain in the hope of making it 18.
The previous record was 10.
Hansen is considered a freak of endurance and recovery. Completing 3 Grand Tours in a single year is rare and considered extraordinary, let alone 3 a year, every year.
Hansen has challenged just about every convention, many over 100 years old in his pursuit of excellence and efficiency of energy use.
He designed and makes his own cycling shoes, by hand, has a unique position when riding, introduced narrow handle bars and 180-millimetre cranks. He had his own uniforms made, without seams. His training methods are unique and his ability to recover, refresh and go again are unique. Other cyclists are taking note.
Who knows how many Adam Hansen’s are out there in our Universities and our workplaces, who have ideas and concepts that could challenge the traditional and achieve results never previously imagined.
The full article is here .