In a recent blog post based on his latest book, Seth Godin asks if people are afraid of ideas and points out that most people either hesitate or overdo it when it comes to the crunch, i.e. turning good ideas into reality. Godin coins the vivid neologisms hypogo and hypergo to describe both extremes – the ditherers and the overdoers. Personally, I prefer the spectrum of either jumping the shark or jumping the gun. Why? Because unhealthy hesitation is always characterised by a fear of absurdity that ultimately fulfills its own prophecy: You are so afraid of jumping the shark that you finally do it – just like that terrible moment on the jumping platform at the pool: You know, when you know you are too scared to jump properly, but can’t not and so do jump: and crash with a terrible flat entry that will burn your belly and flush your cheeks.
Seth Godin reminds everyone of what I would only describe as a simplified summary of the old Cardinal virtues of temperance and fortitude.
It’s not good to be too fat or too thin. Not good to have blood pressure that’s too high or too low. It’s only in the center, where we resonate with the market and get it right, that we can produce effectively.
I almost agree with this – who wouldn’t? – but let me offer two observations to on this notion.
Firstly: It is not enough to have an idea – or even lots of them – and then decide to make a go of it. You need to have a strategic approach and the right (financially sound, or better yet: frugal) context, ensure that your development is both positive and controlled. You need to know when, how and where to jump to. This applies not only to your personal predispositions and approaches, but all the more to your company. Hence the three guiding principles behind what I describe as “engineering your ideas”.
Secondly: The centre is not the market. The market has no centre as such. Therefore, it’s not enough to neither be too hesitant nor too hyper. Yes, you do need a level of measured temperance, as Seth Godin alludes, and courage, but also – without making it sound old-fashioned: wisdom, and yes, what’s traditionally called justice. The full set of cardinal virtues – as I recently recommended Ex-Minister and Ex-PhD Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and his strategists.
What applies to the approach to Digital Public Affairs is equally true of the approach to making your ideas count. Get your “engineering” right, and you will neither jump the shark nor the gun – just like Betty Boone does in the glorious photo above. (Image Source).