A blog post written by Stacy Williams Shuker, a fellow member of the TEDx community here in Georgia resonated with me as she expressed a sentiment that I felt while at TED 2013 but couldn’t quite articulate. Her post closely echoes one of the main topic threads at TED 2013: The idea that we live in a post-industrial revolution age and every part of our lives – work, play, education, technology, etc. – is changing. We are confronted with change regardless of whether we are ready.
I came across this interview with Seth Godin yesterday, and I want everyone in the DSI Network to know about it. The recurring theme of Godin’s work is that the industrial revolution is dead, and the rigid infrastructure built to support it is crumbling. Things like hierarchies, upper echelons of management and standardized tests are going the way of the buggy whip. In order to survive, we all have to become “artists.” By that he means that we have to find the courage to bring to the table what we have to offer. We have to learn to own our talents and ignore the critics. We have to use the new tools available to us to create trust and attention with the audience we seek and resist the urge to appeal to everyone.
He believes that the innovators in this century will rely on connection to key stakeholders through trusted relationships built by creating and giving our work in a generous fashion. We are to build products for our audience; not find an audience for our products.
If you are wondering why I am sending a blog post about being an artist to a community of scientific innovators, stay with me. Every member of this community touches the innovation process in different ways. We have members who manage clinical trials; we have scientists and engineers to create new drugs and devices. There are lawyers, business people, marketers and manufacturers.
Each and every one of us is an artist in our hearts. Lord knows there are easier ways to make a living than in the life sciences. We make products for a part of the human condition that we cannot tweak – yet.
We can’t cajole, charm or bludgeon the human body into responding favorably to our drugs and devices. We can’t convince the human body that it is wrong to shut down its liver while our medication is en route to its heart. We throw billions of dollars and IQ points at solutions to medical problems that ultimately may never work. And we do it over and over again. The layman’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.
We are not insane. We are artists.
Take time to listen to this interview.
There is a small – but growing – number of people in the Atlanta life science community who believe that Atlanta should use its bountiful resources to advance the life science industry for the entire Southeastern region – not just Georgia alone.
I stepped out in faith to create a company to do just that. Not because some report from a top consulting firm said to do so. I did it because I have personally seen the tremendous resources that are available across the South. Building this community does not need scientific acumen; it is going to require art.
If we come together as a community, we will not fail.