When shooting for an ideal, whether it’s a new product or service, a movement or an empire, your chances for success are far better if you create a tangible representation of that thing as soon as possible.
People will inevitably criticize your first attempt. They don’t understand the value having an early version of your idea expressed in the real world.
By having something tangible you can begin incrementally improving toward the final version, the version that matches your ideal. Beginning with a crappy version of your thing, then interating toward better and better, is far preferable to waiting to build the perfect version, or hoping to get the resources you need so you can build the perfect version, or just talking about how wonderful the perfect version will be when it gets built.
The few people who criticize what we’re doing with our successful, small demonstration projects, don’t understand that the approach we’re taking, combined with the results we’ve produced, are the same process used to create every major success in every sector of society.
Hyundai is a perfect example. The Korean car maker entered the US in 1986 with the Excel. It was their first shot at building a car for American consumers. The Excel initially sold very well. As Wikipedia describes it:
Initially well received, the Excel’s faults soon became apparent; cost-cutting measures caused reliability to suffer. With an increasingly poor reputation for quality, Hyundai sales plummeted, and many dealerships either earned their profits on repairs or abandoned the product. At one point, Hyundai became the butt of many jokes (i.e. Hyundai stands for “Hope you understand nothing’s driveable and inexpensive”) and even made David Letterman‘s Top Ten Hilarious Mischief Night Pranks To Play In Space: No.8 – Paste a “Hyundai” logo on the main control panel.
Today, 30 years later, Hyundai is rolling out its newest G90. Not only does its flagship product successfully compete with makers such as BMW and Audi, previous versions of the G90 have won auto industry accolades.
As our demonstration projects roll off the innovation lines, I’m not expecting them to be G90s right off the bat. What I do expect is that they offer feedback and insight to make the next ones better. It’s important to build something right away because doing so provides huge opportunity to make the next version better and the next version and the next. Iteration is a key to being successful.
So, when Chico Demonstration project participants met on November 14, I was expecting feedback on what was NOT working. Not only were my expectations met, the participants also offered outstanding ways to take the project to the next level. Here’s what they had to offer:
- People needed someplace to list what they wanted. The project lists only what people are offering. A list of offers can easily fail to match producers with what people want. A list of needs seems like a no-brainer, huh?
- People wanted more immediate ways to state needs and make offers that match needs. Participants explored how that would work. Text messaging? Facebook? Phone call? They decided to try the telephone as a first pass solution.
- Nearly everyone agreed the biggest “luxury” was time. Having more time to contribute to the project (and other aspects of one’s life) is rare, so if someone could do something for another that freed that person’s time to do something else, a huge benefit could be realized. If I don’t have to rake my yard because someone else was willing, that freed up that time for me to do something else.
- Another thing people strongly desired were group events where people can receive inspiration and motivation as they continue the work. Some participants expressed frustration at having to balance their need to earn a living with the passion they have for Copiosis. To that end, participants agreed having a space available for inspirational events and motivational meetings would be a great addition.
It’s interesting that talks about Copiosis inevitably (at least in Chico so far) wind up talking about spiritual inspiration. I wonder if that is because what we’re doing demands a level of faith often reserved for religion/spirituality. I suppose when people explore what society looks like beyond capitalism, they are drawn to ideas that confirm notions such as cooperation, charity, compassion and sharing based on the fact that we are all one people. It’s something rarely discussed, acknowledged or practically applied outside spiritual circles.
I’m inspired by the results of this meeting. It will be interesting to see how Chico participants wrestle with the trials creating a new reality from within the status quo brings. It’s people like them who are the unsung heroes society will talk about in raves and accolades many years from now when we’re far beyond the Copiosis version of the G90.