Publisher’s Note: Envelope Pushing

Feb 15, 2012 8:10 PM  By

Customer expectations and tough times have forced us to create solutions that leap over previous boundaries, limits, capacities, goals and capabilities.

A thought that I’m reminded of, from M. Scott Peck: “One extends one’s limits only by exceeding them.”

How many of us have grown revenues or profits during this brutal economy? Or reconfigured and extended the lives of already at-capacity warehouses? Or created a more aggressive marketing campaign with less money? Or had record productivity with fewer staff members? Or renegotiated an already renegotiated contract? How many of us have shortened delivery times while providing free shipping? Figured out how to cross language, cultural and operational barriers to grow globally? Launched new businesses in record time? Grown our ecommerce sales while fighting the fast-growing numbers and sophistication of cybercriminals? Or pushed order management and other systems to their limits in order to satisfy customer needs and analyze opportunities? Or tried to understand and employ the marvelous new opportunities that technologies have created while still getting our jobs done?

Whew.

We’ve earned our place with those early test pilots who pushed the capabilities of their aircraft, though our parachutes were not always silk, much less gold. I think we can also claim a place with Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell and Steve Jobs and others who stepped beyond what was imagined. Because there is a second definition of “pushing the envelope.”

That’s the act of introducing new, somewhat radical ideas into established concepts and ways of doing things.

I guess you could say that we in this industry are pushing the envelope in more ways than one.

So, have we learned anything over the past five years from our astonishing and unprecedented leap into untested ideas and solutions? I would love to hear your thoughts about this challenging, exciting time. Write me at Ellen.Shannon@penton.com, or leave a comment below.