Tomorrow marks an annual event in the Sussex Innovation calendar: ‘All About Me’ day. Rather aptly named, this is a day in which the team deliver presentations all about them. Bringing together the new Catalyst cohort and the wider members of the support team to share baby photos, passions, dodgy haircuts and everything in-between. It allows for a joyous day where everyone shares who they are as individuals, outside of their 9-5 role.
The purpose of the day is to get to know each other and find out more about what makes the team who they are. However, it causes us to reflect on Sussex Innovation as a whole. Individuality is something that we champion as an organisation; from our staff to our tenants and members, we value the individual and what they can bring to the table; the ideas that are born when individuals come together.
Rather than leaning towards the oppressed inhabitants of Orwell’s dystopic Oceania – “all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans…three hundred million people all with the same face” – we should utilise the beauty of individuality and use this for good. There is nothing more powerful than when people are able to personalise their passions and turn this into a business venture.
In 2016, “snowflake generation” was one of The Collins English Dictionary’s terms of the year, defined as “the young adults of the 2010s (born from 1980-1994), viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”. Despite this being a toxic generalisation, it also misses a vital point. The most notable feature of a snowflake is that for all the intricate detail, there are no two that will look the same. Their uniqueness makes them powerful. Humans are like that too.
As a forward-looking organisation that favours purpose-driven businesses, we have seen first-hand that innovation occurs when individual perspectives are combined to create something new. There is power in personal thought that breeds collaboration. Combining alternative ideas results in an improved outcome.
Snowflakes may be seen as fragile, but when they come together, they make an avalanche.