Your data is like a mustard seed...

I was sitting in church today and heard the parable of the mustard seed. Some of you might know it but it goes like this:

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field; which indeed is smaller than all seeds. — Matthew 13:31

Well, a mustard seed is small -true- but it grows. A LOT. It is one of the more aggressive plants (technically it's a weed, but I digress). If left to its own devices it can get quite out of hand.

The seeds remain viable in the soil for many years, germinating immediately when exposed during cultivation... Mustard grows everywhere as a weed with no care whatever, but it will grow better if you pamper it a bit.

And sitting in my pew, I began to think about how true this could be in our world of Big Data. If we allow things to grow, with some cultivation, we can bring about some great results IF we are allowed to plant in good soil.

To many times, I have seen managers want to start projects without preparing the soil. Or we become too obsessed with the tools. We get stuck looking for the perfect tool, the perfect system or we decide it's not worth the effort. Let's outsource! Someone else will be able to figure this out.

Here is the lesson:

Your data is like a mustard seed. They are so small and numerous, they need good soil, they can grow fast, and if you don't manage it will take over. But if you are willing to put in the work, trust the seed to grow with your vision for it amazing things can happen for you and your business.

Don't be afraid to plant.

Innovation is not about being safe.


If we are going to find new ways of organizing the data that matters to us, and our customers/users/bosses, we need to be willing to look beyond what we know. That is, beyond the comfort and safety of what we are sure of. In the past, the knowledge and tactics worked for us. And they might work now. But have you taken the time to look outside the "you bubble"? Are you doing what everyone else is doing because. "that's how it's done"? 

Safety in a system without growth breeds only stagnation and innovation. 

This past year the New York Knicks let go of great coach and GM, Phil Jackson. After three years of living in an old model and trying to apply a workflow and ideology on players who had moved on, it was clear that Phil had to go. Why did this happen? Because Phil wasn't willing to look beyond his system. Years before, he had massive success with Bulls of the 90s and the Lakers of the 2000s. This fact is undeniable. His legacy is ensured. But the game has changed. "The triangle" system has given way to the "run and gun" style, stretch 4s and 5s, and there is practically no positions anymore. Also, his players were aware of this and had come fro these systems. The triangle was so slow and clunky in comparison. The league had moved on and Phil would not change. 

Your game has changed. The way we do things needs to change, Now. 

How do we not end up like Phil Jackson? Adapt. Grow. Lead through innovation. You don't have to go it alone either. Team innovation needs the ability and permission to look for the insights to your data. Only then can you create a design flow that works for your company. Design that creates automation just because it flows in new and innovative ways. 

"Good design encourages a viewer to want to learn more." Alexander Isley

So don't just rely on your system, especially if there are signs that you see that it could or is failing. Adapt, grow, and find success beyond your own borders. You have the ability to inspire and innovate. It's well worth it. 

Get off the wagon. Please. We need you.

Getting back on the horse is harder than getting on the wagon. The simple case for this is that getting on the horse is an individual action. Sure you can have some one hold the horse and even have someone steady you on. But eventually, like it or not, you got to drive the horse. You need to take action and lead.

The “wagon hoping” game is so much easier.

You can get on with little to no trouble. You don’t need much effort. There is most likely room for you, someone else is driving, and everyone else is on the wagon wanting the same thing you want: to go somewhere without having to think or make the choice of where.

Getting on the horse is so much harder.

Learning how takes time and effort. And lets hope the horse trust you! If it doesn’t think that you have what it takes it might buck you right off. You have to develop the skills, the vision, and confidence of making it.

So why do you not want to be on the wagon? Freedom to lead.

Freedom to take paths that the wagon can’t even fathom or consider. Freedom to blaze trails that frankly,  we need. In this current age of “the internet of things” and Big Data, getting on the wagon and traveling the well worn path is not cutting it. It is creating a workplace of erosion and apathy. We are gathering information that is not asking the right questions and adapting simply because: everyone else is doing it. We need people with the freedom and insight and courage to lead. Being a force for change in the workplace, never mind the world, take leadership. 

Don’t sell the horse for the convenece of the wagon. Get off the wagon. We need you to lead.