Successful brands are effective in wandering around

Thursday April 18 2019

Innocent Swai

Innocent Swai 

As we know him, Henry Ford was the 19th century world’s great innovator of the assembly line.

He was quoted as saying, “If I had asked people what they wanted, a faster horse would be the answer.” Let’s look at what another entrepreneur of the 21st century said at Air Force Association event hosted by the Air Force in 2018 in Maryland, US. He said there was no customer who asked for Echo as it came up as a definite ‘wandering’ initiative.” He further shocked people when he said, “market research doesn’t help much.”

It’s known that for any brand to survive, efficiency is a must. Customers prefer what’s ordered, to arrive on their doorstep immediately.

For the most successful brands efficiency is their DNA. At any retail brand, the goal is execute their mission to keep customers happy by having low prices, fast delivery. However, other brands like Amazon and Google, their employees are given something extra.

For employees at Amazon, they actually have a time to be inefficient. Likewise, at Google employees are given 20% of their time to have their side projects. Such devotions have made these brands thrive in the world.

What Amazon and Google are doing has given their employees a beginners mind all the time in a very simple manner. At Amazon, it has another name according to Jeff; it’s called “wandering.”


At Amazon, wandering is guided. Likewise at Google, the side projects are guided too. In the process these brands manage to help their employees cultivate very special skills like hunches, guts, intuitions and inquisitiveness which are essential counter-balance to efficiency. For effectiveness to happen efficiency is key.

On the other hand for outsized discoveries to happen, the ‘non-linear’ tasks happen while people are exploring different options, one of them being wandering.

Building such a culture is not an easy thing. No wonder the most successful brands design a culture of builders.

They help their employees to become learners, curious, explorers, inventors, etc. It doesn’t matter they are qualified as experts or not. What matters the most is for them to have a ‘fresh’ with a beginner’s mind.

In addition, for employees to have time for wandering or side projects, their failures are embraced, something which has always been taken into account in the aviation industry which has growth mindset as opposed to healthcare, education or religious endovours. In the aviation industry failures once exposed by the help of the Nlackbox; automatically they will be rectified while in most other industries, the failures which happened many decades ago are still happening due to lack of transparency.

In South Korean, their culture has two features namely “respect for seniority and age,” which is quite an authoritarian destructive style of doing things.

This problem is still hidden in other fields like healthcare, education and religion. Without proper changes, employees and other people in different fields will remain rooted in character traits that end up in preserving hierarchy and asking few questions. It’s time for culture change so that authorities must be challenged creatively for better future. King Herod in the Bible is known to have ordered slaughtering of baby boys below two years old to preserve his authority in those days.