Inspiration / Opinion

The blue tit of creativity


Just after WW2, dairies decided to fit milk bottles with aluminium tops.

This simple move caused consternation amongst our feathered friends who, up to this point, had enjoyed supping cream from the top of open bottles.

But, within a decade, every single blue tit knew how to peck through the aluminium to get at the cream beneath.

The knowledge spread, virally, as each bird flew the nest, set up home elsewhere, had a brood and demonstrated the new technique to the surrounding flock.

It was amazing how fast the knowledge spread.

Which makes me think of the work that we go through to get an idea out there.

We’re faced with milk bottle tops every day. Shiny deniers of our brilliance: budget cuts, clients who won’t play ball, email crashes and power outages. The myriad things that stop us getting at the juicy idea we know lies just on the other side of that milk bottle top.

And once we’re able to peck out way through, it’s our hyper connected world that allows us to spread that idea. Tweet it. Blog it. Facebook it. +1 it.

Pass it to our surrounding flock, if you will.

Which is why we need to be more like blue tits than robins.

Robins learned how to peck through milk bottle tops too. But they’re territorial animals, rarely straying far from the nest.

So the knowledge didn’t spread.

The idea didn’t spread.

And only a few robins ever get the cream.

The moral of the story is this.

Be a blue tit.

If you can, be the first blue tit to work out how to get behind that milk bottle top standing in your way (that’s where genius lies).

Break down barriers, smash through silos, share and add value to the community.

Lead, if you are able. Listen, if you aren’t.

Be active in the sharing, the creating of content, the dissemination of ideas.

But don’t be a robin. For goodness sake, don’t be a robin.

Because you could be the most brilliant robin in the world, but if you don’t share that brilliance with the others around you, you’ll be cold, hungry and shivering while someone else feasts on the cream…

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One thought on “The blue tit of creativity

  1. Enjoyed reading about post WWII blue tit behavior, specifically how quickly the knowledge spread among blue tits elsewhere. Interested in pre WWII blue tit behavior. Was told that 1936-1945 no milk was delivered to homes (due to war) and a blue tit’s life span is 3 years, so 3 generations of tits came & went & were not able to pass the milk-bottle (card-board) lid puncturing. Yet remarkably, when WWII ended and home milk delivery resumed, the current crop of blue tits immediately started poking holes in lids (now aluminum) and helping themselves to the cream. — How did the knowledge get passed down through 3 generations if tits who had no access to milk bottles? — Thanks, Ari S.

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