To discover the origin of something, be it an idea, a business or a phrase, we travel back to the first documented reference of that idea.
We all know the phrase ‘back to square one’ and the analogy is pretty obvious.
The earliest citation of the phrase ‘square one’ in print is currently 1952, from the Economic Journal in a review of The American Economy, 1860-1940.
It reads: “He has the problem of maintaining the interest of the reader who is always being sent back to square one in a sort of intellectual game of snakes and ladders.”
It has always had and is generally used with negative connotations – but what if we spun that into opportunity? Going back to the start with everything you know already.
That’s how innovation happens – by looking at what’s been before, what worked, what didn’t and what is now possible from that beginning point.
In the midst of the c-word pandemic some of us are at some sort of semblance of that point now. The point where there are choices to either go back to old dated traditional ways, or to embrace new practices which are better for everyone, and the environment too.
Do we need to make so many business flights? Can companies now see their staff working from home effectively? Are governments prepared to protect their citizens? Isn’t it great to spend more time with our families?
The origin of Scwair One was to look at a project from the ground up, not knowing exactly what that project would become. Designed to discover what the best practices are for a creative and focused mindset, for fast and effective business growth, for financial sustainability, for the happiness balance.
How do you spell ‘square one?’ I asked my five year old daughter in 2015. She carefully scrawled in her beautifully naive handwriting what is now the logotype for Scwair One.
The title was intentionally crude. It was intended to be phonetically written as a small child might spell – as if they were starting their learning journey from scratch.
I kept the piece of paper until 2018 when I decided it was time to explore the idea. An Instagram account seemed the easiest form of documentation and thought processes, of something starting from scratch, but it stalled due to lack of focus and time, together with a void of self-doubt.
Now though, in a new world, where masked neighbours are the quickly familiar daily norm, there has never been a time when the project is more needed and more relevant.
Although millions of people across the globe are facing an uncertain future, (which at the time of writing none of us can be sure how deep or painful the impact will be) we can help each other find better, more innovative ways of living, breathing and working.
Already solutions and ideas are emerging from this uncertainty. A strange new reality throws up hidden needs and social distancing has ironically brought strangers closer together… while others fear their neighbours.
But there is hope and options amongst the bleakest of unfamiliar landscapes. Obstacles will fall in the paths of many entrepreneurs who’ll see those hurdles as the opportunities they really are. It’s just about searching for that opportunity inside the problem.
The Coronavirus crisis is producing thousands of origin stories as I write.
A new wave of creativity is coming, through which we’ll see new groundbreaking projects and businesses grow, changing the world just a little bit more.
The entrepreneur economy is here and its origins are in all of us.