The burden of a writer is the dreaded writer’s block. I am now burdened. However, when I run out of ideas to write about, I am not content with just staring at my computer aimlessly, I hunt for inspiration.
This time, my inspiration came from an interesting article from Wired Magazine about how the Formula One car racing company, McLaren, is using technology from its racing sector to give other industries and businesses around the world a boost. The article focuses on McLaren’s work with GlaxoSmithKline to minimize GSK’s changeover time in toothpaste production.
Obviously, a car company working with a toothpaste company seems ludicrous. Yet, when the connection is made, it becomes one of those scenarios where the idea is so crazy…it just might work.
The connection: if McLaren can train their pit crews to change a set of tires in 2 seconds (literally), then why does it take GlaxoSmithKline employees two hours to changeover their production line?
And BAM! A happy partnership full of mutually beneficial transactions and profits was formed.
Why does this matter? It probably doesn’t except for the fact that McLaren makes some really nice cars. This is just an example of a rich company making another rich company even richer and they both live happily ever after making tons of money while I’m struggling to get through college.
What matters is what this represents:
Technology breeds innovation. This kinda goes both ways. When companies innovate, new technology forms, but when new technology is introduced, new ideas and concepts are innumerably constructed in every sector of the economy. This is the cycle that has gotten our society to where it is. We are constantly evolving, discovering, and innovating to make the human experience more. More in that it’s better, or more in that it’s worse I couldn’t tell you, but I know it’s more. McLaren has manufactured some pretty incredible technology for their racing business, and they are known for their pristine worksmanship in luxury sports cars.
Innovation breeds advancement. When we as a population innovate ideas and cultivate concepts, we can do great things. Stop the spread of disease, make information readily accessible to the masses, create discourse to further social reform, break boundaries and crush obstacles that plague populations, we are literally unstoppable when they set out to crack some new code of how things work. The sheer magnitude of advancement from the Model T to modern automobiles highlights this pretty well.
When worlds collide, we advance. Just like with McLaren and GSK, when companies or organizations look to expand and branch out with their ideas, usually, more than just they benefit. Not only is technology and innovation important for advancement, but collaboration moves mountains as well. The exchange of information is a catalyst for innovation and advancement, in and of itself.
Here’s where the digital environment enters the picture. The internet is essentially a huge enchange of information. Not only is information exchanged, but people comment on it, they build on it, and some pretty interesting and incredible ideas are built by regular people. On the internet, worlds intersect, overlap, coexist, and collide all in the same atmosphere. Ideas, cultures, languages, businesses, and even economies are in constant motion and in a constant state of information exchange in the digital environment. It is the perfect place for people to innovate and advance not just external concepts but internal ones as well. People can get information on how to build a moon buggy, while they are becoming informed on the dangers of cultural appropriation.
This is why the digital environment has such a big impact on culture and society today. Never before has there been a centralized location for people to learn, to teach, to produce, to consume, to transform, or to grow.
The digital sphere is its own world, and when worlds collide, we all win.
Teamwork makes the dream work!