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Business Creativity & Innovation

Does the light stay on when your refrigerator door is closed?

Challenging assumptions

This has always been a topic for debate amongst those propping up bar counters or for day dreaming types. How do you know what goes on inside your refrigerator when the door is shut? We all assume that the manufacturer has done their job correctly but you can not be sure, unless of course you climb inside (definitely not advised).

Not long ago I had a similar experience with my car. Like most people, I assumed that when I shut the doors and locked the car all of the interior lights  went out. Sadly this was not the case and the combination of the interior lights and the car alarm flattened the battery. The next time I went to the car it would not start.

I am not suggesting that we all  become obsessive and peer into our refrigerators or hang around parked cars waiting for lights to go out but I do believe that once in a while it is worth examining all of the things that we take for granted just to see if anything has changed. Maybe I will detect a faulty light switch once in a while but the implications in a business context are far more important.

How many times have we been told that a particular project or course of action is closed to us because of certain ‘givens’ that are accepted as variables that never change? Maybe a project costs too much, or the computers are not fast enough or the container ship takes too long to travel from China. But what happens when costs fall, computers become faster and container shipping times are slashed? Shouldn’t we periodically consider these things?

Our business environments change at different paces. Competitors react faster than governments and customer requirements even faster. We make assumptions at our peril, most things change at some point so we should be ready and be checking once in a while. Once we get used to doing this we can also avoid the other obstacles that get in our way. The only way to dodge the rocks being hurled at us is to be looking for them!!

So if you are the type that simply shuts the refrigerator door and forgets about what might be going on inside, just take a sneaky peek once in a while.

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