Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why Fab Lab & The Golden Circle

One of our board members shared this with me last week.  It was a transformational Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on messaging, be it for products or missions, etc.  The focus was on how leaders can inspire followers and clearly communicate objectives.  The talk is about 20 minutes and well worth your time.

Here's a link:

The gist of it was that people don't buy what you have, they buy what you are and why you do what you do.  The thing they buy or do is evidence that they believe what you believe.  Simon refers to this pattern as the Golden Circle.

At the center is Why, radiating out to How and finally to What.  His point is that many leaders or organizations start their message or vision or sales pitch on the outer circle and with the What of their message.

For a product, the What is what it does or features it has or things it can do.  The typical message then communicates the How.  The How is how it accomplishes those features or activities.  Finally, the Why is answered or in many cases is not answered at all.  The Why is why the organization exists or the vision was created or why the leader leads.  Often the case is that the Why is left to the listener or consumer to figure out on their own...the Why is implicit, instead of explicit.  Ambiguity about Why can be the disasterous.

Simon points out a number of examples of companies or organization or products which use the What-How-Why process, including TiVo.  TiVo, by the way, is not particularly successful despite the fact that it's practically a verb.  They failed to communicate the Why, lost market leadership and became commoditized.  Commodities are cheap and ordinary.  Is that what you want?

The successful leaders start their message or vision with Why, then proceed to How and that order.  Apple is a classic example, Simon notes.  People buy Apple products first and foremost because they believe in the Apple vision...a more creative, energetic and individualized life.  They believe in this vision and are compelled to buy Apple products as evidence of their belief.  Apple products will probably never be commodities.

So how does this apply to Fab Lab Tulsa?  Good's my answer:

Why Fab Lab?
  • I believe in Fab Lab because it's a movement dedicated to the next industrial revolution, except that it won't be industrial, it will be personal. 
  • I believe in the Fab Lab movement because it's a step-change in the practice of creation, fabrication and production. 
  • I believe in Fab Lab because it is the leading global concept in empowering people to improve their lives through technology.
  • I believe in Fab Lab because it is collaborative, cooperative, creative, friendly and revolutionary.
  • I believe in Fab Lab because our children deserve better access to mentors, experimentation, positive learning environments, and technology.
How does Fab Lab realize these beliefs?
  • Fab Lab Tulsa provides public access to industrial grade computer controlled machines, electronics and open source design software.
  • Fab Lab Tulsa offers access to artists, students, teachers, inventors, businesses, entrepreneurs and the wider community.
What does Fab Lab Tulsa do?
  • Fab Lab Tulsa offers training on the machines and software.
  • Fab Lab Tulsa is available to the public through memberships and limited free public hours.
  • Fab Lab Tulsa provides a limited selection of free plastic and wood raw materials which people can use responsibly to build things they want or need.
Now, answer me this...Do you believe in Fab Lab Tulsa?

If so...then help us achieve our Why...our vision for a more visionary, independent and creative future.

Contribute to Fab Lab Tulsa.  Your contribution matters.

Matt Norris

Board President
Fab Lab Tulsa, Inc.
Tulsa, OK USA

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