A Story About Change

A Lesson in Innovation


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Once upon a time, there was a land where the whole community lived under one big glass dome. For generations, the families had been born, lived and died under the glass dome. And the story that passed down from generation to generation was if you ever did step outside of the glass dome, you would surely die. So no one had ever dared to step outside the glass dome.

In fact, the community had decided that there was no crime so dastardly that the punishment for anyone who committed that crime would be to banish him outside the dome which would be certain death for him.

No one — but no one — had ever committed that crime. Then one day, to the community’s horror, a man did commit such a crime.

The punishment was swift. The whole community escorted the man to the edge of the glass dome and pushed him out into the world beyond. Then they all pressed their noses to the wall of the glass dome to watch the man die.

At first, the man laid on the ground, face down, shivering in his fear of how death would come to him. His muscles were all clenched up as he braced himself for what would certainly happen.

But nothing happened. After a bit he rolled over and looked around, and seeing nothing threatening, he ventured to sit up and look around. As the people in the glass dome watched intently, the man slowly stood up and looked all around him. And then, to their amazement, the man began to dance softly in the green, green grass — moving this way and that way, trying out his arms and legs that seemed to work perfectly well.

And then he began to jump up and down, and to shout joyously, and to beckon to the people under the glass dome to COME ON OUT AND DANCE WITH ME!! The people were filled with confusion and bewilderment to see this happy dancing man when they had expected to see him die a horrible death. The confusion and stress grew so great within them that they finally had to take action. They got buckets of black paint and large paintbrushes. They started at the bottom of the walls and painted the walls solid black, up as high as they could reach and as high as necessary so they could no longer see the dancing man. They then all breathed a sigh of relief and went back to the way things had been before that day.

And what was the crime the man had committed . . . he was an innovator.

Wallace Ford

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