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Why outsiders lead to progress

Industries and lives are only ever transformed by outsiders.

Its your ability to accept inputs from those who see things differently that drives real progress.

In the same way human evolution depends on mutations and mistakes, human progress depends on whats new.

In the Consulting work I do, there seems to be one common theme, companies that struggle to take on board the vantage points of people outside their core domain.

It's companies who know too much about how things are done, or too little.

It's either an industry like TV, the Auto Sector, Consumer Electronics or Construction where the entire industry seems to be staffed entirely by people with incredibly deep and focussed expertise, but are so entrenched in how things should be done, they are unable to see outside their world, or even tolerate the idea of employing such people.

Or it's the tech world. Where people with relationships to help find funding, with one or two successes behind them, and with the confidence of the right lingo and body language mean they think they can walk into any domain and challenge all prior wisdom.

The truth is the former are destined to slowly fail. Knowing the limitations, best practice and relationships of the past is destined to lead to dogma, blinkers to whats possible and change is extremely hard.

The latter are destined to fail quickly. The arrogance of tech folk assuming storied companies who've made money quarter and quarter for decades somehow are missing a trick. If you look at the executive teams of a myriad of tech focussed startups, it's amazing how many have zero experts in the field they are entering or of the customers they seek to sell to. Show me a self driving push chair and I'll show you an founding team with no mothers.

The best question you can ask yourself today is "how would a person from industry X, see our world". Imagine the questions they'd ask, the assumptions they'd challenge, the "stupid ideas" that would have something in them.

It's a little harder, but all progress depends on things being a little more painful and tough than we want.

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