This post isn’t about Agile.  It’s not about Teal.  Nor is it about any specific strategy or technique.  It’s about a metaphor, inspired by a compelling image and words shared in a recent email exchange within the organization.

OK. Let me set the context. We at LitheSpeed have a strong bent towards ideation and innovation, reaching for the future while staying grounded in the present.  At times though the reality of commitments and deadlines impinges upon this ideal, leaving some of these innovations and ideas withering and unrealized, lacking sufficient coalition of force to nurture their growth and blossoming.  In the absence of an organic demand some ideas need a more persistent push to be a contender.  So, it is within the context of one such recent conversation that Bob Payne, my mentor and colleague, ended an email with this call to action:

If you have the passion make it happen…


Intrigued, I googled “makers of fire”. My undirected meanderings had me traipsing through various theoretical and ecclesiastical threads on the topic, and then I stumbled upon the abstract of a book by Alex McManus with the same title.  Paraphrasing him, here’s the essence of what I found that was strongly resonant with the challenges we were facing with seeing some ideas and innovations reach their full potential.

The essential ingredients for fire to happen are: fuel, oxygen and heat.  In order to create a “burning event”, we must be:

1. Fully Present in the Moment (Fuel)

Exponential change characterizes our world. Being fully present includes developing an awareness of the “weak signals” of change that are all around us as well as the events and trends that are shaping our present world. This is the Fuel and it focuses on our orientation towards futurity and towards our ever changing present moment.

2. Shapers of Meaning (Oxygen)

People are shaped by stories. Shaping meaning means telling the story in ways that capture the 21st century imagination.  We must engage and expand our ability to think about the future. This is Oxygen.

3. Willing to Step into the Fray (Heat)

Creating the future doesn’t begin with a plan. It begins with a dream. But dreams must become acts through which we step between the Fuel of culture and the Oxygen of meaning and ignite a spark of change. This is Heat. Heat gets practical. This is where dreams become deeds, genies come out of bottles, the imagined materializes into the experienced. This is where you become a maker of fire.

I found myself inspired by this analogy and the message. Admittedly, there resides within me a peculiar predilection for mysticism and philosophy, but I’m utterly dispossessed of patience for abstract, pointless speculation and metaphysical hair splitting.  Ideas are great, but everything in some way has to have a practical relevance and has to energize action.  Knowledge, unless displayed in action fails to impress.

And, so I ask, “Are you willing to step into the fray, bring the heat, and become, a Maker of Fire?”

Check out the LitheSpeed Careers page to help us spark change.