“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”
This is the Shirky Principle, per Clay Shirky as described in this interesting post I came across. I think I can safely say we’ll recognize this in the association world, either with a sigh because we’ve discussed this sort of thing before, or like a – BAM! – right between the eyes.
Although this is pretty self-explanatory, I encourage you to read the post if you want to dig deeper into a couple of examples. But the author suggests a question which I’d love to throw out to you:
In a strong sense we are defined by the problems we are solving. Yin/Yang, problem/solution, both sides form one unit. Because of the Shirky Principle, which says that every entity tends to prolong the problem it is solving, progress sometimes demands that we let go of problems.
What do you think? What problems could your organization let go of?