“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.”
G. K. Chesterton
When I was 12 years old my family moved to Singapore, where my dad worked for UNESCO. We moved back two years later. Those two years changed me.
It’s not just that I saw a different way of life – when I returned I could see that the way we lived in Canada was not natural or immutable – it was a series of decisions and habits.
Whereas many people see culture is just the weird things other people do, I could see that Canada was a culture too.
Consider what we eat. At breakfast, orange juice, bacon and eggs are commonly consumed. At dinner, pasta, chicken and beef. Even if we were entirely bound by the current mix of foodstuff produced and imported in this country, couldn’t we have orange juice at dinner? Nope, that would be weird.
Can you see what you are in from the outside?
When assembling a creative team we are exhorted to put together people with different perspectives, experiences and capabilities, as this increases the diversity of ideas produced.
If facing a problem alone, the same diversity of thinking is valuable. Can you see the system you are in from the outside? What does everybody else see as natural and immutable that you can question?
If you can see the system from the outside, you can profit from changing it, the way a marketer made orange juice into a breakfast drink.