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Lessons of Innovation: The Fable of "The Ant and the Grasshopper"

Posted by Thomas Edwards on October 25, 2020 6:00 PM EDT
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Building on our last blog of the fable of the boiling frog and lessons it may have for innovation, there are additional lessons.... 

...to be found in the fable of "The and the Grasshopper".

As most people recall, the popular fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper provides simple but meaningful life lessons for the value of preparation, persistence, focus and hard work versus the human nature of postponing important actions.  This simple fable reminds readers that it is better to stick to one's best course of action, work hard and be ready for "winter".....or in organizational parlance, predictable, difficult and disruptive times ahead.  As the story goes, the ant is dilligent and keeps preparing for the onset of winter by finding food crumbs and putting them away.  The grasshopper, on the other hand, spends his time relaxing, playing music and waiting until the last minute to do what is necessary to survive the predictable winter ahead.  As disruption goes, there is a suprise in the offing for the grasshopper when winter's ferocity and timing becomes adverse.

For the innovator, there are a number of key lessons and applicable wisdom from this age-old but still relevant fable.  Here are some that come to my mind:

1.  Adverse conditions will come your way, prepare for the worst and work ahead of the urgent need that will inevitably arrive.

2. Sometime breakthrough innovations come from doing the same things over and over, but changing the routine just a little bit.

3. Prepare for tougher times when times are at their best.

4.  Innovation is importand and hard work, requires focus and should not be put off until it is too late.

5.  There is a time to rest and a time to play...staying on track in the trek for innovative solutions requires constancy of purpose.

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