24 April 2006

Is my equity working?

I paid off my car this month. The irony of it being the last thirty days of my three-year adventure back to graduate school is not lost on me. I am stuck between the benefits of no longer having a car payment, and the silliness of having an equity stake in a dwindling asset. People have written books about what a poor investment vehicle the family home is. And, although a much smaller amount of money, my car is loosing value at a ridiculous rate. And yet it is still a relief that I own it.

But what does this have to do with design, innovation or business. Everyday business people make an investment in themselves, in process, in knowledge and in relationships. These – are true investments. These skills and experiences that some once said to me “they can never take away from you” are in fact enormous assets.

My three years in school has been both exhausting and exhilarating. I don’t think I had really taken stock in how much there is to know. Richard Saul Wurman talks about (Information Anxiety, 1989) the reconciliation we must have with the limits of time and our brains. That is it not important to know everything, but to know where to find out everything. Certainly he did not foresee the immediacy of google and wikipedia. There comes a point where skills, knowledge, experience and process will fail. At that point, progress will rely upon relationships – the dynamics of leadership, the challenges of motivation, inspiration, convictions and determination. And while I am determined to never let this learning process slow, I am looking forward to reaching that “point.”