The bigger the change you want to see the longer it will take and the more setbacks you will meet. But big change can and does happen. And those who have changed the world the most have tended to be patient, resolute, determined and optimistic.
I’m reading a book on Ho Chi Minh at the moment. What a hard life he had. Progress rarely came easy. Setback piled on top of setback piled on top of setback piled on top of setback. When it couldn’t get worse, it got awful, and when it couldn’t get more awful, it got atrocious, and down and down and down. And yet and yet and yet, Ho Chi Mink rarely lost hope, and every opportunity he got, he wrote and he taught and tried to convince people about his ideas.
I’m doing digital stuff since 1994, and I’ve never had a perfect client. It never all fell into place. There was always something jutting out. Often, months and even years of work seemed to have been pointless because a new manager came in, or the budget got suddenly cut, or a key member of the team left, or another department started causing trouble.
These are revolutionary times. Digital and AI and all that are changing the way we work, what we work at, and the way we live. This is big, big stuff. And if you’re involved in any of this digital stuff, you’re a change agent, whether you think you are or not.
The issue in most organizations is not the technology, not the website or the app. It’s that most organizations simply don’t understand what it all really means, how radical the change is, and how much change is required by the organization and its staff. It’s a mindset change. A huge cultural change. A change that massively affects traditional egos and hierarchies.
What does design thinking, lean design, agile design, user experience, customer experience, usability, minimally viable product, all have in common? They all put the customer / user at the center of things. Why is design thinking seen as so novel, so important these days? Because most organizations never had to think too much about design from the perspective of the customer, the user.
Most companies develop, engineer, produce, market and sell. They rarely do much design. That may seem shocking, even ridiculous but its true. The digital revolution has first and foremost been embraced by customers, by people. Most organizations are way behind the customer.
That’s where you come in: helping your organization catch up. It won’t be easy. You’ll have to be careful. You will become the enemy of those whose career depends on maintaining the status quo. And even when things go well, they won’t go perfect. And there will be so many setbacks.
Patience, good humor, optimism, the desire and ability to passionately and clearly explain the same thing you have explained one thousand times, one more time, and one more thousand times. You may never change anything but without patient, dogged, optimistic determination, you will never change anything.