Last Thursday, June 16th 2011, IBM celebrated its 100th Anniversary. Most news reports honored the occasion by featuring aspects of its history and showing the evolution of the IBM logo. What struck me was the evolution of the tagline Think I’ve been reflecting on thinking ever since. Have we as a culture abandoned thinking? Our young people live in a world of immediate gratification and instantaneous communication. Analysts on the stock market emphasize quarterly goals not long- term strategy and continued profitability. Are we teaching our children to think for themselves or are we making them good test takers? Is the superficial overtaking substance?
Thinking has seemingly become a luxury for the average person when it should be a routine part of everyone’s day. Merely reflecting on my own daily routine I’m embarrassed to say I am caught up in “doing”. Obviously there has to be a balance. What happens when the acceleration of time in our society transforms thinking into a luxury only a few can experience? Doesn’t that affect all of us in the long run?
We find ourselves in a recession like no other. Millions are unemployed. Small businesses are holding on for dear life. Individuals, the lucky ones, have been receiving meager unemployment benefits for multiple years. Those fortunate to have a job are exhausted. They are asked to do the job of two or three and work under the anxiety of the threat they may be the next to lose their job. Fear at the level of basic security is a crippling emotion. We all remember, “Open the pod door, HAL.”
More than ever before that I can remember our society needs our best and brightest minds to THINK us out of this recession. We need managers welcoming innovation and thinking at the workplace. This is not a paid or unpaid advertisement for IBM. However it is worth your time to visit two of their websites. One to read their Centennial Essay at www.ibm100.com which I think is a great piece on building culture. Secondly, to read the book they've developed entitled, THINK. It demonstrates the importance of thinking by putting the complex world we live in into perspective. Visually it's interesting as well. Go to http://www.ibm.com/ibm/think
Let me know what you THINK?