In defence of bright ideas from people who have absolutely no idea how to implement them


I’ve written somewhere in the region of 150,000 words about the consulting market in the last three months. That’s, like, a couple of books-worth or something. I’m the Barbara Cartland of the consulting industry. Actually, let’s not go any further with that idea.

Anyway, it’s only a rough guess but I’d say that about 149,998 of those words have been about pragmatic, hard-nosed, results-focused, transformative, implementative consulting. The other two words were about blue-sky, hot-air, results-agnostic consulting. And they were, if I remember rightly,  ‘nothing’ and ‘doing’.

Little surprise there. But having just found a day of calm between the USA (booming) and Southern Europe (busting) I wanted to take a moment to let off some steam that’s been building up. I hope you’ll forgive me.

I like blue-sky. I like hot air. I like ideas that aren’t remotely rooted in reality (partly, I have to admit, because I’m not a big fan of reality) and have very little chance of ever making it off the drawing board. I like pie-in-the-sky, back-of-the-envelope, head-in-the-clouds thinking. More importantly (though I should re-emphasise that I am just letting off steam here and have no designs on making this in any way practical) I suspect that most of the people who come up with the best ideas have absolutely no idea how to turn them into reality. And I’m a bit worried that in the consulting industry’s head-first dive into the world of pragmatism, it’s going to lose them.

Please don’t lose them, consulting industry. Please cherish them. Because I’m worried that there will come a day, ten years or so from now, when teams of brilliant implementers are sitting around itching to implement the living daylights out of something, if only they could find a few bright sparks who couldn’t organise a fire in a tinderbox, to give them something to implement.

That’s got that off my chest. Thank you for listening. I’ll get back to it now.