I keep seeing articles about Lego – specifically, articles about how the innovative application of Lego to a problem created a solution. This probably isn’t any kind of news flash for anybody of my generation. I reckon my brother and I single-handedly* kept our local Woolworths in business in the 1970s by spending all of our Christmas and birthday money on Lego sets there, and my children are still playing with the collection we amassed; now filling a tub 2 feet high and 3 feet wide, a permanent fixture in the living room.** The only difference is that now there are more aliens and interestingly spiky parts, rather than the staid houses and cars we used to build. From my brother, who went on to be a highly respected and frequently head-hunted engineer, I learned how to destruct-test a prototype*** … much to the despair of my mum who was forever finding unexpected blocks on top of the drink cabinet or embedded in the dog.
Anyway – this article talks about how a Lego moment saved a huge contract for a data recovery company. Not where you’d expect it to find an application. This one talks about preserving an ancient wooden sarcophagus that was beginning to disintegrate. You get the picture.
So what I want is more Lego moments in local government. Not with actual Lego, although that would be cool, but with tools and tactics we’ve previously dismissed as not appropriate, not sophisticated enough, not complex enough. Simple tools get stuff done. They encourage complex thinking and elegant solutions. More importantly, simple tools fail safe and they fail cheap. We could use more of that.
* Yes, alright, double handedly if you want to be pedantic. Shut up.
** Partly because it’s too heavy to move.
*** This, now I come to think of it, speaks volumes about my current approach to my work.