Entrepreneurs for Change, When Will You Create Your “Light-bulb”?

entrepreneur, startup, social, enterprise, nonprofit, business

But no, Ikea kicked over the sandbox, somersaulted and did a Segal kick over to the monkey bars. Developing a lightbulb that you install as you would any other light but dim with a separate and unattached dimmer. Wires? Ikea said we don’t need your stinkin’ wires.

 

Pulling things apart, putting them back together.

This is something Grant Achatz of Alinea says in his episode of the (bingeworthy) Chef’s Table on Netflix. It caught my attention the moment I heard it, and it continues to intrigue me. So much so, I have it written down in several different places around my house.

It’s this premise (pulling things apart, putting them back together) that had me swooning over this article on a light-bulb. Stay with me.

In August, Fast Company did a feature on Ikea’s  new(ish) light-bulb concept and I totally geeked out watching the video. You see, Ikea could have played in the sandbox with the other kids. Coming up with a light fixture that had your standard dimmer functionality. Or, stop at developing a snazzy phone app to dim the lights from your phone.

But no, Ikea kicked over the sandbox, somersaulted and did a Segal kick over to the monkey bars. Developing a lightbulb that you install as you would any other light but dim with a separate and unattached dimmer. Wires?  Ikea said we don’t need your stinkin’ wires.

They pulled the system apart, and put it back together.

How do I know this? How do I know the approach to this project was intentional and empathetic? Because Ikea kept the best part of the experience. That sensation you get when you turn the dimmer dial.

Ikea understands that in all of us is that (possibly childish but) integral desire for the tactile touch that comes with dimming the lights. The delight of fidgeting with this “thing” and immediately seeing our actions reflected in this other “thing”. But still did away with the superfluous. Looking at the process and asking, “What can we do away with?” Allowing us to have the experience of a dimmer, without having to pay Otis the electrician $300 dollars. By asking, “How can we make this whimsical, but functional?” And delivering by understanding the magic of the dimmer is NOT the same with a slide on a screen. To illustrate why this is the case, remember what it felt like to righteously end a call by slamming shut your Motorola Razr? Remember how good it felt? Now, think about how it feels to indignantly end a call by angrily pushing this intangible button on a screen. It’s just not the same!

 

If you’ve started an organization or are thinking about it, how are you confining yourself to wires and screens? How are you still trying to work within the systems? What haven’t you questioned? What are you assuming? How can you put this thing back together differently?

So why do I gush about this light-bulb on the blog? Because it’s so important social entrepreneurs pull apart the system, to put it back together. Why? Because the systems aren’t working! And frankly, the “systems” aren’t set up to do what you’re trying to do. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need to do it.

Ask yourself, how can something be done differently? With an eye toward inclusion, accessibility, diversity, dignity, empathy, etc? If you’ve started an organization or are thinking about it, how are you confining yourself to wires and screens? How are you still trying to work within the systems? What haven’t you questioned? What are you assuming? How can you put this thing back together differently?

What will be your lightbulb?

(at the risk of it being lost, I wanted to take a moment to point out the ah-mazing literary irony I just imparted on you with this last sentence (i.e. ikea lightbulb/your “lightbulb moment”) because I’m incredibly proud of this, lol.)   

 

 

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