I love the Incredibles, and the fashion maven Ms. Edna Mode is one of my favorite characters. At 1:40 in the above clip, when asked to repair the existing suit, Edna tells Mr. Incredible, “I never look back, dahling. It distracts from the now.”
Fashion is a rapidly moving, hungry beast. Even in the imaginary world of the Incredibles, you have to keep innovating, or suffer the damaging attacks of robot assassins.
Is that just fashion, or your industry too? Is that just in an imaginary world with killer robots?
While I don’t expect you to be fending off spinning blades with a new suit, I expect you will have to iterate to keep your small business alive. Perhaps not today, or tomorrow, but what about in a year from now when some new competitor comes in? Adobe invents a robot that can do what you can do.
What if you didn’t look back?
What if you started from scratch each time you worked on a new project. I know you’re not actually starting from scratch with your experience and training – and that’s a good thing. But, what if you threw out the Photoshop filters, scripts, and textures? What if you relied upon your imagination to create a better photo, every time, as if your life depended on it? Could you do better? How much better?
I’m told constantly by creatives in the web industry to rely upon scripts, frameworks, systems, to help jump start a project. And, I do use some outside tools to pivot from. But, what if these tools hinder my creativity? What if I could do better, and I’m not?
The argument for using these tools – they are technology, after all – is that we shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time.
The argument against, is to not let your tool, framework, or system constrain your imagination.
The likely result is that the majority of creatives will fall somewhere in-between and use a little of both. And in five years, Google, Adobe, Facebook, or Microsoft creates a product that makes that current service a commodity. A few will remain, racing to keep up with the robots.
But there could be those who persevere with imagination. By never looking back. Surprising even themselves with that deep reach inside to pull out every last bit. The end result may not look as it does today. But, it will be better.
In the words of Edna Mode, “No Capes!”