Fast Company: Unearth Growth by Digging in the Dirt

by Richard Watson

Everything you need to know about innovation is growing (and dying) in a garden near you. So forget balanced scorecards, six sigma and SWOT analysis and read this instead.

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There is an element of business, which, as far as I know, has never been written about. Business is like gardening. That’s right; growing a business is like growing a tree. I know this sounds flaky, and I’ve probably lost many of you at this point, but for those of you that remain, consider this: most metaphors about business are about sport or war. This is useful, but the fatal floor in these analogies is that both have an end point in the immediate future. Moreover, the objective of both is to defeat a clearly defined enemy. Aims and outcomes are always fairly clear.

The feeling in most organizations like these is that business is a mechanical process. In this context the analogies of war and sport are very apt. It’s all about pre-planned strategies, resources and control within a fairly fixed environment or known set of rules.

But real life doesn’t work quite like that does it? We cannot control everything and it is egotistical to think that we can.