Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and author of Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself, declares that adequate products and services are no longer ‘good enough’ in the market place. We must redefine adding value into doing “something in your field to change the game and stand out from the crowd.” In making his point, Taylor provided two amazing examples—the 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage and the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. Two adjectives he used to describe these sought-out facilities were ‘breathtaking’ and ‘beautiful’.
On seeing this, I immediately connected to what philosophers espouse as the values of ideal-seeking societies—truth, beauty and goodness. Could corporate life move from adequate to amazing by incorporating beauty into its customers’ products and services experiences? And by philosophical measures does this differentiate between efficiency and innovation? From Taylor’s descriptions I would suspect a healthy dose of goodness and truth are involved in both as well.
Howard Gardner in his new book, Truth, Beauty and Goodness Reframed, defines beauty as interesting, of memorable form and inviting a revisit. “And as a bonus, it gives you a tingle.” These could be the contemporary parameters for defining an organization’s value proposition—a business or marketing statement that summarizes why a consumer should buy a product or use a service.
I must admit the ‘wonder child’ in me is jumping for joy with the thought of corporate life guided by such heady values. On the other hand, my ‘inner critic’ raises her cynical eyebrow at such a possibility becoming reality.
Current events would suggest that greed still has a strong hold on corporate agenda setting while, at the same time, many work spaces—lacking even bare necessities such as windows—would not qualify for a revisit. Nonetheless, my optimism and history’s documentation encourage me to continue to dream big and outside the box because big changes are made from little steps taken one at a time.
What little steps are you taking in your personal and professional life to bring forth truth, beauty and goodness?