Do the Do!

The lightbulb is the quintessential symbol of an innovation.  It is an innovation credited to Thomas Edison, one of America's most renowned inventors.

The lightbulb was not an instantaneous idea that came to Edison.  Unlike the many cartoons I have watched over the years where lightbulbs appear over a character's when an idea comes to them, Edison and his team spent years working on creating a lightbulb that was real and not just an idea.

And those years were not spent sitting around thinking about variables, parts, materials, etc.  Instead, they theorized on different parts and materials, and then they tested them.

They tinkered.

They experimented.

They DID something.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the father of modern quality control, popularized the management system known as Plan - Do - Study - Act.  

Plan establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the target or goals.

Do implements the plan, execute the process, make the product.

Study examines the actual results and compare against the expected results.

Act determines how to go froward with the next Plan.

All too often an organization gets stuck in the Plan stage.  Everyone wants to research and talk and discuss what potentially would happen IF something is DONE.  We've all been in those meetings - way too much talk, and not enough doing.

Doing is where we learn the most because it is where we find out how things REALLY work, how parts REALLY go together, it's getting your hands dirty.  It is where we deal with reality.

When we get stuck in the Plan stage, we get stuck in our own heads.  We get stuck in our own biases, preconceived notions, and experiences.  People start to become "authorities" and experts in these discussions, which keeps us from doing and trying things.  People love to say why things won't work, but rarely do they actually prove why it won't work.  We're expected to just take their word for it.  And as a result, Ideas are shot down before any doing is performed.  Which is sad.

The only way to make things real is to get your hands dirty and do something.  It is only because Thomas Edison and his team got to work doing, that the eventual lightbulb was invented.  Nothing has been invented by just talking.  

So let's all limit the talk... and do more doing.