August 8, 2023

Where this blog title came from

Christmas, 2014.  I was listening to The Reith Lectures on Radio 4.

As usual, I hadn’t taken much notice of who was behind what I was listening to (I didn’t find out who played my favourite ever dance record until 30 years later).  Then the speaker said something that galvanised me.

“Discipline makes Daring possible”.

After that I had to follow up on it.

The lecture was the second of a series on “The Future of Medicine”.  The speaker was Dr Atul Gawande and the episode title was “The Century of the System”.

It “tells the story of how a little-known hospital in Austria managed to develop a complex yet highly effective system for dealing with victims of drowning.” – specifically in freezing water.  A system that could be triggered by the receptionist.

The story came from Gawande’s book, “The Checklist Manifesto“.   I tracked down a copy, bought it and devoured it in one sitting.

I thoroughly recommend it.   Not just because it shows how something as simple as a checklist can save millions of lives, also because it shows how resistant ‘professionals’ are to any kind of systemisation.

Which fed nicely into my fascination with finding that fine balance between systems and humans that makes for consistently rich and evolving customer experiences, as well as consistently rich and evolving employee experiences.

If discipline is what makes daring possible, how little of it can you get away with?

How much daring can it enable?

I don’t know.

But I’m still enjoying finding out.