Innovation in fast-changing times: Building Cathedrals, Navigating the Red Queen, and Embracing Gaudí’s Gravity-defying Approach

2 min.

In the whirlwind of today’s digital age, organizations find themselves in a perpetual race against time, akin to Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen. The imperative to innovate relentlessly echoes through the corridors of contemporary business, demanding agility, adaptation, and rapid evolution. Yet, as the world hurtles forward, a seemingly counterintuitive strategy emerges—one reminiscent of the meticulous craftsmanship behind the Sagrada Família, an unfinished masterpiece that defies convention and gravity.

The Sagrada Família, a cathedral in Barcelona, stands as a testament to both architectural madness and genius. Its architect, Antoni Gaudí, devised an ingenious method that defied gravity itself—an approach that resonates deeply with the modern challenges businesses face in designing their business models.

The Sagrada Família: Genius in the Face of Madness

Gaudí’s Sagrada Família remains an enigma—a cathedral that defies both convention and completion. Was Gaudí a madman or a genius? The answer, perhaps, lies in the very essence of innovation. Gaudí’s brilliance lay in his ability to envision the cathedral not as a finished product but as an evolving masterpiece. He recognized that the pursuit of perfection could be an unending journey, much like the pursuit of innovation in the digital age.

Gaudí’s groundbreaking approach to constructing his Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is particularly emblematic of the innovation mindset needed in today’s fast-changing times. Instead of battling against the formidable force of gravity, he harnessed it to his advantage. By combining small weights and strings to ‘hang’ his MVP, he crafted a visionary prototype that could be mirrored and expanded upon. This unique approach allowed him to iterate and refine his design, embracing imperfection and evolving toward greater excellence. 

Business Models for the New Era: Designing with Gaudí’s Gravity-Defying Approach

In the digital age, businesses face a similar conundrum—they must design their business models with the dexterity and innovation demonstrated by Gaudí. Waiting for a perfect blueprint is no longer viable in a world where change is constant, and the competitive landscape is ever-evolving. The principles of slow building, as exemplified by Gaudí’s approach, offer profound insights into crafting business models that thrive in this new era.

Starting with MVPs and Iteration
Gaudí’s MVP approach emphasizes the importance of beginning with a viable foundation and iterating toward refinement. Businesses must adopt a similar mindset, recognizing that their initial models may be imperfect but serve as the launchpad for continuous improvement.

Embracing Gravity (Market Forces) as an Ally
Gaudí’s brilliance was in embracing gravity as an ally, and businesses must likewise embrace market forces as allies in their journey. Rather than resisting external dynamics, innovative companies find ways to leverage them to their advantage.

Iteration and Expansion
Just as Gaudí mirrored and expanded upon his MVP, businesses should be prepared to scale their models iteratively. This approach allows them to remain agile and responsive to changing customer demands and market conditions.

Legacy and Resilience
The Sagrada Família’s enduring presence in Barcelona stands as a testament to Gaudí’s vision. In the same vein, businesses that design their models with an innovative, iterative, and resilient approach are more likely to leave a lasting legacy in their industries.

Designing Business Models for the Digital Universe

In the age of the Red Queen, where innovation is a perpetual sprint, businesses must draw inspiration from the Sagrada Família and Antoni Gaudí’s gravity-defying approach. It is a call to embrace imperfection, iterate relentlessly, and evolve toward excellence. Waiting for the perfect plan in the digital era is akin to stalling progress. Instead, businesses must design their models with the same visionary spirit that inspired Gaudí’s masterpiece—an approach that hangs its MVP on the strings of innovation, defying gravity and convention to craft a legacy that thrives in the digital universe.