One hundred and twenty seven years ago this week, Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, upon emigrating to the U.S., docked in New York City, whereupon he was asked by a customs agent if he had anything to declare. “Nothing but my genius,” he replied.
It’s with that same spirit that we embark upon what appears to be a challenging and eventful 2009. It is the hope of many—myself included—that the turn of the new year, the inauguration of a new president and the self interest of capitalism will right the ship that has recently run aground on the current recession.
Like losing weight and getting out of debt, it will take longer to get out of this mess than we would like. But taking our cue from Oscar Wilde, we might begin with the confidence that all we have to declare is our genius–the creativity, energy and resourcefulness to be able to extricate our businesses and our country from the economic mess we’re in.
In an earlier blog, I suggested that we have moved from the creative economy to the idea economy. That we have entered into an era that acknowledges that political and businss leaders don’t have all the answers right now, but we will find new ways to do everything better. Our new president-elect embodies that reality. He sure wasn’t elected on his experience. He was elected on people’s belief that he had a bright, inquiring mind and the ability to seek out good advice and innovative ideas, even from his rivals, rather than surrounding himself with yes-men. The situation reminds me of the Old Testament proverb:
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
In this regard, I am an incurable optimist. While keenly aware that greed, stupidity, secrecy and sloth led the nation into the current recession, it is our genius, creativity, collaboration and hard work that will bring better ideas, and hopefully better days, to our companies and our country.