Professional Osmosis

Over 300 people disappear yearly on cruises: Reasons are suicides, crimes, accidents, or a deliberate plot to disappear. Few of us probably knew this. Regardless, we simply accept this as part of this specific industry. The question is, of course, for how long?

Decades ago, the heavy chemical industry was a dangerous place to work. Because of regulations, company focus, new technology, and public pressure, worker deaths have been significantly reduced: Work place fatalities are now an exception, no longer the rule.

Almost every industry or profession has internal standards, which may be normal for insiders, but are strange and alien for any outsider.

Sometimes this creates a positive example: The standards around speed and efficiency for a Formula 1 pit-stop-crew can be inspirational for any organization which is bogged down by sticky processes.

Often, however, it’s a negative example: A fatality rate which would be unacceptable in the chemical industry, is still perfectly normal in the agricultural world.

We need to realize that every industry or profession is exposed to a process which I call professional osmosis: Better standards in the external world will eventually become part of your own world as well. 

From this point of view, innovation is the deliberate process to speed up adoption of new and better standards in your industry or profession, in order to match the higher standards from the outside world.

This starts with a decision: Which low internal standard in your workplace will you no longer accept?

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