If you’re familiar with Rework, 37 Signals’ landmark book on innovation then you probably don’t need to read this post. You’ll already be applying some of their radical principles to the way you work and benefiting from their results.
If however, you’ve not yet read Rework then you probably still don’t need to read this post. The book should only take you a couple of hours.
Ok. Did you do it?
No? Need convincing? Ok, read on.
About The Book
Its 5 years old today and written by the founders of Basecamp, one of the most successful online software companies. But its advice is also entirely applicable to any charity that’s looking to change the way it works and do something radical in the world.
Here’s three of its best pieces of advice and why they apply to charities who want to innovate.
1. Planning Is Guessing
“Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you can’t control…. Start referring to your plans as guesses… Plans are inconsistent with improvisation…. You have the most information when you’re doing something, not before you’ve done it…. If you write a big plan you’ll most likely never look at it anyway… Figure out the next most important thing and do that.”
If you’re a charity embarking on a new venture then by definition of being new you don’t know whats going to happen. You’re just making your best guesses. Find ways to challenge your guesses, validate your assumptions and, most of all, liberate yourself from the long term plan. In short: learn as you go.
2. Decisions Are Progress
“When you put off decisions they pile up. And piles ended up ignored, dealt with in haste, or thrown out… Whenever you can swap ‘Let’s thing about it’ for ‘Let’s decide on it’… Decide and move forward”.
Ever worked on a project that took longer than expected? The chances are that things got postponed out of fear of getting them wrong or doing them the wrong way. Maybe decisions had to be made by a steering group who met monthly or your video got delayed because you couldn’t decide on how it should end. Long projects zap morale so keep motivation and momentum up by regularly making decisions.
“Don’t make up problems you don’t have yet. Its not a problem until its a real problem. Most of the things you worry about never happen anyway… If circumstances change, your decisions can change. Decisions are temporary”.
If you’ve ever tried to get a new service or product started then you’ll know its hard enough without creating more obstacles out of what could go wrong. If you’re innovating then its fair to expect that you’ll need to change things as you learn. So instead of worrying about the future pay more attention to what’s happening now, make the call and adjust your course from there.
Read The Book
These have been only three of the 87 pieces of radical and provocative advice contained in Rework. If you’re serious about innovating then I seriously recommend reading, or revisiting, it.
(And here’s Rework’s suggestion on what to do with your long term plan)