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Posted by on Jul 1, 2013 in Blog, Life |

The Lab or the Factory | Another Great Metaphor

The Lab or the Factory | Another Great Metaphor

As I mentioned in a previous post, I love good metaphors.  Particularly when it comes to thinking, planning, communicating, and innovating, a good metaphor has the ability to bring clarity, reorient your thinking, or simply nudge you to approach an obstacle or opportunity (or even an operating assumption) from a new perspective.  Need to generate new ideas?  Find a useful metaphor.  Need to communicate a concept more clearly?  Employ a good metaphor.  Want to evaluate your current way of doing things?  Bring in the metaphor!

You get the idea.

I came across another good metaphor a couple of week ago in a post by Seth Godin: The Lab or the Factory.  This metaphor creates opportunity for individuals and organizations to analyze operational priorities or evaluate their innovation climates, among other things.  Godin frames it this way:

To work in the lab is to embrace the idea that what you’re working on might not work. Not to merely tolerate this feeling, but to seek it out.

The factory, on the other hand, prizes reliability and productivity. The factory wants no surprises, it wants what it did yesterday, but faster and cheaper.

Think about the way you work, or the driving force behind your organization.  Are you a lab or a factory?

Consider your view of failure?  Are you a lab or a factory?

Is this a useful metaphor for you?  Do you have others that have been particularly insightful?  Do share.

Image credit: miami.edu