In their book From Sumer to Rome, authors Richard Gabriel and Karen Metz made a fascinating observation: If Roman body armor-which was sophisticated, effective and invented almost two millennia ago-had been used at the battles of the American Revolution, the average soldier would have been almost impervious to serious injuries. The reason is that firearms in those days did not have the penetration power of modern weaponry. Yet, no-one thought of this idea because the art of effective body armor design and use had been lost to history at that time.
We think of technological progress as a movement which goes ever upward, with an occasional hick-up here and there. However, it’s more like a pendulum, swinging from one side to another. Therefore, if we want to improve our professional results, it pays dividends to sometimes look back, instead of falling in love with the latest technology breakthrough.
For example, as a professional speaker, I never use Powerpoint. My only prop on stage is the occasional old-fashioned flip-chart. This gives me the freedom to focus on storytelling and pace my talks, without being limited by a fixed slide deck.
My clients love it and call this approach the flip-chart revolution.
How would you use forgotten insights from the past to start your own revolution and stand apart from the crowd?