Michael Jordan was a great basketballer. That is hardly a revelation. He was also a great scorer. Over his NBA career he averaged over 30 points per game and was known as being virtually unguardable. In fact it was often said that the only person who could keep Jordan under 20 points was his college coach Dean Smith. The reasoning was that he created a team structure that kept Jordan from using his individual skills only for scoring. His defensive prowess aside, Smith was an enormously successful college coach and rated as one of the greatest of all time. Like all great, and many, many mediocre, American coaches he has written a book.
In it he addressed the topic of innovation.
Innovation is a funny thing. Often it’s not as much a matter of sweeping change or a bolt of enlightenment as it is of small increments and contributions from a variety of people. Often it grows out of desperation or tough circumstances.
He went on to describe the situation of a player when he was assistant coach who in a particular situation had a peculiar habit. This habit was outside the coach’s system and he was criticised for it. At a later date after Smith had moved to another team he recalled that particular player and his habit. This time under another coach they used that player’s inspiration to develop a valuable new tactic. One player’s inspiration was considered an error by one coach but lead another to innovate.
And yes, I know that putting ‘The Dark Knight’ in the title of this post is even more of a stretch than the last one, but it does seem to continue the general theme of the first two posts and that is where we started.