Lessons from the Neolithic Age
Roger Woodworth, principal consultant at Mindset Matters, helps others align strategies for greater impact. Previously he was vice president and chief strategy officer of Avista Corp. He’s chaired Edison Electric Institute’s customer service executive advisory committee and was board president of the National Hydropower Association and the Northwest Gas Association.
Some thrive. Others are lost to the ages. What makes the difference?
Ingenuity. Or, to be more precise, applied ingenuity. After all, a better idea without action is nothing.
Those more apt to succeed first assess threats based on facts. Then they apply resources in new ways to make things better. Those who do otherwise will certainly weaken and eventually fail.
To illustrate, consider this story about the first known transmission of energy.
Ingenuity for Survival
Humans in the Stone Age feared fire. Fire was mysterious and unpredictable. Like creatures in the wild, people saved themselves by running away from flames. From today’s vantage point, we can see this fear was self-limiting.
Pre-historic records reveal that our ancestors from this time were hunter-gatherers, few in number, small in stature and limited to warmer climes.
As a strategy for survival, fear of fire made great sense at the time. But then someone figured out a better way. Our representative for this new era is Ötzi, the Tyrolean Iceman.
For those that haven’t heard, Ötzi lost his life on a glacier in what we know today as the Otzal Alps near the Austrian-Italian border. His mummified remains were discovered by German hikers in 1991.
In an ironic twist of fate, one of those hikers later lost his own life to the same glaciers.