PurpleBeach Postcards

10:10:10 Postcard 12 – Some thoughts on innovation from Kyra Maya Phillips

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Warren Weertman

Innovation comes from three sources: the past, present and future.

The flattening of hierarchy amongst pirates in the 18th century is an interesting example.

Is it correct to say there was an element of crowdsourcing in the pirate councils even though there was a captain? Unless in battle, the captain had no power. Everyone had to sign the constitution before they sailed so everyone was on the same page.

Also, no one was paid until treasure was captured. The quartermaster would distribute the pay. The difference in pay structure was also very flat. In essence, the quartermaster functioned as a counterfoil to the captain.

In terms of society on-board, the captain couldn’t dress better or treat himself better. Furthermore, everyone slept in the same room. This creates a group of highly committed people.

The pirate council helped unlock innovation in a powerful way as everyone knew what the common purpose was. This isn’t the case in modern organisations because often purpose isn’t communicated to people. 

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