Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is Memphis a Steel-Hulled Clipper Ship?

prepare to abandon ship, Mr. Aviotti!John Seely Brown spoke at the Leadership Memphis Community Breakfast of the conceptual rut -- the condition where you're so focused on the thing you've been doing that you refuse to see new patterns emerging all around you. The example he used to illustrate this was the bigger, sometimes better, but always wind-powered ships that the clipper ship industry built to ward off competition from those newfangled steamships. The race to stay competitive concluded with the Thomas W. Lawson (pictured) that not only was massive but had a steel hull. The industry mimicked an obvious but not core element of the competition, but couldn't let go of the wind power at the center of their universe.

A major conceptual rut -- nay, sinkhole -- for Memphis is command-and-control leadership. Our political, cultural and business leaders think that if they have to, they can just weld the new ideas onto Memphis' steeply hierarchic superstructure and still cruise with the competition. This has never worked for Memphis. I believe that we can trace many of Memphis' civic problems to nearly 200 years of political, cultural and business exclusion of 99% of Memphis citizens from decision-making and information-sharing.

Yet, we still do it.

By the way, the Thomas W. Lawson sank in 1907, killing everyone on board except the captain.

A lesson for Memphis.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is about the Zipper post. I don't hink Union was included in the zipper becasue it is already covered, in places, by the Medical Center Zoning Overlay. Great blog.

9:26 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

I didn't think the MC Overlay went down that far, but looking at it again, maybe it does. thanks.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

long as de massa be sayin he like de way he be doin it Ize like it thet way to.

what we care bout flat earth world economics when we gots boxin' n de fawd family to entertain us?

3:08 PM  

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