Gordon Edge, remembering a great innovator and leader

Gordon Edge

It was with great sadness that I learned of the recent death of Gordon Edge. These are some of my memories of a great technology innovator and business leader.

For a period of almost three years, during the 1980s, I was privileged to work at PA Technology, near Cambridge. This was a great place to be and formed part of what became known as the “Cambridge Phenomenon”.

Populated by a bunch of bright mavericks, it was led by its founder and chief maverick, Gordon Edge. Dressed immaculately, he spoke quietly, using few words, and what words!

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Opportunities: how can we look for them?

We are all looking for opportunities, aren’t we? Or do we focus mainly on problems?

How often have you heard that every problem is an opportunity? Is this true?

So what is the difference between a problem and an opportunity?

Opportunities and problems are opposites.

Usually, we do things because we can see the benefit of doing them.

A problem exists when we see a benefit, but we are not able to generate it.

An opportunity exists when there are things that we are able to do, but we have not yet seen the benefit of doing them.

Whether or not we can turn every problem into an opportunity, we can focus less on problems and focus more on opportunities.

When we have a problem, we focus on the benefits that we cannot generate:

  •  we do not know what things to do to generate the benefit
  •  we know what things to do, but do not know how to do them,
  •  we know how to do them, but are not able to do them.

When we have an opportunity, we focus on benefits that we can generate.

How can we look for opportunities?

We can relax about the things that we are not able to do, and focus on the things that we are able to do.

We can relax about the benefits that we are not able to generate and focus on benefits that we are able to generate.

Is this an opportunity for us all?

Do now, or do later?

Whenever you think of something, do you always do it immediately?

It’s wonderful when you can, because you don’t need to remember anything. You can play around and improvise on a whim. It’s fun, interesting and might lead anywhere; and if the things that trigger those thoughts are well organised, then it is likely to lead somewhere.

On the other hand, it might lead nowhere. Continue reading