Progress and Innovation – Fact or Fiction?

When I started writing this post, we were in the middle of the Australian summer storm season.

Floods were ravaging the east coast of this great nation and from Queensland, south, everyday Australians like me, were sitting by candlelight with family and friends, as the wind whipped trees to the ground and the driving horizontal rain pounded the dehydrated earth.

Chaos reigned, yet I remained safe and dry inside my country digs, despite being trapped by overflowing causeways we could do nothing about. We were in a waiting game. Until Mother Nature released us from her grasp, we had to make do with what we had.

Times like these can bring out the best and worst in people.

At the turn of the 20th century electricity was a lab based novelty enjoyed by a rare and privileged few. Kerosene lamps, where available, ruled supreme and the idea of boiling the kettle, involved an open fire and iron grill of sorts.

Yet, in one moment, over 15,000 residents housed within and around the fertile hills bordering the far eastern coast of this amazing country, stepped back in time to a simplier time, when the electricity source was cut due to Mother Nature’s seasonal fury.

For three days, there was no electricity. No phone, no internet, no cell coverage. Not surprisingly, this got me thinking: Connectivity.

How connected are we really when our connectivity is dependent upon local and global infrastructure?

Is success measured by potential ability or reliability? In theory or in practice?

I’m a marketer by trade and increasingly, I see brands and businesses operating wholly online. Not a piece of paper in sight. This is great for the environment, but crippling for a business in the event of a simple power crisis…so what is an appropriate back-up plan?

In this web-based world is it possible to have a back-up plan that enables business to function with the same level of efficiency and effectivity off-line as on…?

With access to phone and power lines severed, the power to communicate rests in the hands of the technicians (in this instance, the service providers) and highlights the fallacy of success in ‘progress’.

During my country hiatus, I cooked a savoury mince with fresh herbs and garlic (straight from the garden), boiled eggs, potatoes and cooked sweet kumera crinkle cut fries and fresh mint peas atop (and in) the pot belly. Fire, not stove. Such is the joys of country cooking for extended family sans power!

Not surprisingly, our familial adventure raised discussions of the everyday practices of our ancestors both here and abroad. What’s better? Is there still value in old, or is what’s shinier better, because it’s new?

This year, the stupendously well resourced Super Bowl shut down for 20 minutes while technicians resolved the power failures.

How would your business fare if you lost power? Would you also lose the power to communicate or have you evolved your commercial risk management strategies both on and offline, so you are reliant on neither?

Some would call this double-handling, others astute planning; but is it progress…?

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