Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rhodia Think Offline and a lesson from Squirrels



We all love Squirrels. Whilst they (and their relatives like chipmunks) are indigenous to America, Eurasia and Africa, they have been introduced to Australia. And even though an everyday squirrel sighting is incredibly rare, we do pay them homage in our notebooks and stationery.


But these cute little guys do have a lesson for us, even if we have to use particularly tenuous metaphor to get there. The squirrel lives around trees - so forest, woodland, parks etc and they roam their woody environs happily collecting all of the data that they need to get through the day. They learn where there are predators, they learn where unsuspecting prey (insects, teeny birds and mice) likes to loiter and they learn where they can find all of the nuts and seeds that keep them alive.


Now, I know that few of us google 'nuts and seeds' but we can see an analogue emerging here. Modern sedentary man isn't roaming a forest floor because what we need can no longer be found there. We now run on knowledge and information, and the internet is super awesome for finding all of this stuff.


But just because a forest is a great place for finding a delicious acorn, that doesn't mean that it's the best place to do something with that acorn. We need a separation between the acts of sourcing and acquiring information and the act of doing something with it. That process whereby all of those bits of info get run through the Rube Goldberg machine that is our brains and ends up helping us do something useful. That's a separate system and it doesn't like pop-ups and flashing ads.


So find your info out, even get a kick our of the equally unsuspecting deviations of amusement that l'internet offers us, embrace this amazing thing, but only where it can help. When it's time to think and be creative, it really helps to close the laptop.



So this is the part we learn from Squirrels. I say this because squirrels find their acorns in the forest and then try to process them in the forest. They do this by burying them, right where they found 'em. But, (and it's an important but) Squirrels only ever find 1 in every 4 acorns that they bury...they waste all of that effort, they confuse their poor brains.

Somebody really should give them a rhodia pad...

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