Small. It’s not a word we use much these days. We don’t boast of being small, starting small, staying small. We tend to want the opposite. Years ago, when I did my MBA all of the examples we talked about were from massive global cooporations. We didn’t talk about small business, small anything – big, large, and scale was worshipped. And it still is.
It’s the same in most sectors – we worship scale and ‘bigness’ because we beleive it is more efficient. We believe we can produce more for less money if we are big. We bought into the belief that the factory is the best model for everything. Mass production is key. However, we failed to see the costs as well. Or failed to see that the factory model perhaps is not best for education, for service, for social care.
Big and scale often correlates with sameness. It’s hard to deal with the uniqueness of humans with scale. When doctors are told they have only 10 minutes with a patient, we cease to be people. When humanitarians leaders focus on numbers, it is hard to care. And when digital transformation focuses on data security, data protection, and digital identity, the person is lost.
So perhaps we need to revive the value small. To celebrate people. Perhaps we need to read Schumacher’s ‘Small is Beautiful‘ again. As Feast & Fables reminded us in this week’s newsletter, ‘it turns out, the very tiniest of tweaks are the ones that add the character.‘
Afterall size is relative. Just ask an ant and an elephant.