On an evening in mid-January we were fortunate to have a crystal clear view of a total lunar eclipse. The shadow advancing across the Moon’s surface actually made it look round–not like the flat Man-in-the-Moon face that we are used to, but much more like a ball hanging in space. That’s a bit frightening: despite courses in physics, I still can’t totally comprehend what keeps the Moon (or the Earth) hanging there.
That’s the power of a shadow, which was able to reveal a picture closer to the truth.
By happenstance, on the very same day Sheila Towe, Consul (Commercial) and Melanie Marshall, Information Officer from the British Consulate-General in Toronto came to our office to spend an hour talking with Vivian Danielson, the editor of The Northern Miner Newspaper, and me. Their quest was to gather ideas about the best opportunities for British companies to market their services and goods to the Canadian mining industry.
When they posed their question, it took a little while to come up with answers. At first I was reluctant to give them my ideas, as though that would be unpatriotic. Besides which, I couldn’t think of anything useful to say. So Vivian started the ball rolling. She pointed out that the mining industry has gone completely global, there really are no borders, and that everyone who wants to mine or market to miners has to take a world view. Then the ideas started to roll.
“There are plenty of opportunities for environmental engineering companies, and those involved in mine site rehabilitation…. And loads of opportunities for remote communications companies…. And how about the traditional links between the United Kingdom and much of Africa: surely there are better chances for British firms there than for firms from other countries…?”
With the mental strictures removed, we were able to float out some very credible ideas (albeit not all of them on-topic) for Mses. Towe and Marshall to pass along to the Consul-General. Solving someone else’s problems seemed so much easier (and more fun) than working on our own.
Vivian and I may be intelligent (charming, witty, etc.), but we are not mental giants. Everyone, however, has developed a degree of expertise in certain topics and skills. It just takes someone to invite us to use our minds in new ways, for the ideas to surface.
Don’t wait for the next lunar eclipse, or a call from the Consulate-General. If you build open-minded group brainstorming into the regular work routine, you will develop a clearer picture of the current reality, and the best ways to achieve your goals.
By the way, those interested in equipment or services from the United Kingdom can contact Sheila Towe at tel. 416-593-1290, ex. 2231, fax 416-593-1229.CMJ
We need someone to invite us to use our minds in new ways