It's only day 3 of SXSW and i'm tired of the jargony terms "disruption" and "innovation". (Both in my own title!) They're everywhere this year. Every company wants to be innovative, and many are. Some companies have the capacity or interest in fostering their own disruption. This is, of course, harder. There's no buzzy product this year as in prior SXSWs -- no Twitter or Foursquare. This year the buzz is about using lean methodologies and about being disruptive. Eric Ries' Lean day was SRO.
Innovation is not disruption. But i'll save the semantic blog post for another day.
As I seek to help Adobe by disrupting Adobe, I constantly feel like a child, with Adobe as my parent. I believe the metaphor is pretty good, so i'll push it;
Adults have mortgages and jobs and dependents and responsibility. They're a little jaded. They've seen it all. They know a ton. It's not that they don't WANT to be fun and frivolous, but they are mature enough to understand that keeping your job is important. The family depends on you.
Parents were once kids, but now they're all grown up. And no matter how much they loved rock n' roll back in the day, swearing they'd remember, their children's music feels like noise.
And a parent's role is not to hamper this process. The parents' job is to give broad boundaries and otherwise encourage this risky behavior in as safe a space as possible. Too much restriction, and all parents know what will happen -- rebellion -- usually dangerous. Just as most companies would love to innovate profoundly and avoid being disrupted by competition in a changing landscape, parents all want to be good parents with great self-reliant kids; but it's harder than it looks -- to create that space, to let go of that control, to love them anyway. Kids generally want to make their parents proud and have meaningful lives.
I'm okay being at kid at Adobe. I'm optimistic that Adobe will be a great parent.