My favorite "great idea" that emerged from last week’s Great Ideas Conference, of course, did not come from one of the scheduled sessions. It was an informatil conversation during breakfast. One of the people at my table said that her association had been struggling with the fact that they were not nimble enough. This is a big issue for associations, of course.

What was different was the response. She said that the association leadership took a long, hard look at the organization and concluded that there was, in fact, no way they could become more nimble. That in itself is probably worthy of discussion, but listen to what comes next. Since they couldn’t become more nimble (at least not easily), they decided to spend time creating a separate organization–an actual competitor to their own association–and make it more nimble from the start. It didn’t sound like they had a real endgame in mind–they were just starting the process. It was like they were aboard the Titanic, but they converted the back end of the ship into a mini-shipyard and were building another ship. Once they realize they are not going to clear that iceberg, they hop on the new ship, I guess.

Talk about thinking outside the box! I am not recommending this idea as a generic best practice. I still have lots of questions about why they couldn’t become more nimble within their current context. But as a follow on to my last post, would you be willing to destroy your own organization if it allowed you to pursue your mission more effectively?

Jamie Notter