Envisioning and Creativity in Safety
- The work of compliance creates compliance thinking
- Checklisting creates checklist thinking
- Regulatory mindfulness quashes open dissent from regulation
- Zero enforces stasis, the enemy of zero is movement and learning
- Zero is anti-learning
- Creativity in thought requires stepping outside of the group
- Creativity in thought requires stepping outside of orthodoxy
- Equivocality in curriculum creates narrow-mindedness
- Fear of dissent quashes open listening and reporting
- A Machiavellian culture of policing
- Questioning orthodoxy is ‘heresy’ (Bradley Curve)
What quashes vision is a key chapter in my new book: Envisioning Risk, Seeing, Vision and Meaning in Risk
It’s pretty difficult when one’s job is the continual counting or metrics and policing regulation to turn around and come up with ideas to improve safety. I often look at many of these safety award programs and recognition programs about the safety industry and all I see is more of the same. When a culture is in a freak out about deviance from compliance creativity and imagination go down the drain.
The visionaries I discuss in my book are a mix of people who we don’t normally discuss as visionaries eg. Louisa Lawson, Marion Mahoney Griffin, Banksy, Bosch, Marcia Langton and others. What these all have in common is a vision embedded in risk. If you are afraid of risk (as zero must be), there can never be a vision. One of the dumbest word combinations in the safety industry is the notion that zero involves a vision. This is what Safety does, it grabs an idea and packages it in what it is not, and then declares it as ‘vision’. I don’t care whether you call someone a ‘thought leader’ or what the package is, when you look at the content, on the inside there’s not a skerrick of vision. More of the same is not vision.
You can read all the literature you want surrounding the delusion of zero vision and there is nothing visionary anywhere to be found. Just because something has a brand doesn’t make it so. It doesn’t matter what the package says the contents are toxic. I diet of toxicity makes for a sick industry.
One of the many indicators of vision is if the outcome of the vision is enabling of persons and community. A vision for making money or consuming is not vision. Simply inventing an object that people can use is just about utility not vision. Inventing objects is not visionary. Visionaries understand trajectories; they know where things being espoused lead, and they usually name the trajectory as either dehumanising or unhelpful. For this they are often ostracized and excluded from orthodoxy.
I had a friend who was on a board for a global construction company and at their annual strategic planning she tried to get the words ‘human’, ‘person’ and ‘people’ into their vision statement. She was howled down as if she was an idiot. Why would we want to mention people in a vision statement? Whatever they ended up with you can be sure was not visionary.
So the beginning of envisioning in safety means stepping outside of orthodoxy, engaging the imagination, engaging creativity, being prepared to risk, being prepared to reject the love of objects and instead gain a vision for the love of subjects.