Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
To say that my uncle’s shed sits at a bit of an angle would be, quite possibly, the understatement of the year so far. The way it leans over its sub base and in towards the garden is the very definition of precarious. It could fall at any second. The door no longer closes because of the way the frame has distorted, and the windows are bowing outwards in a way that only plastic windows can do. Glass would have long ago shattered. Inside, the shed is about as full as a shed can get, and probably it is only the contents that is preventing the whole structure from collapsing. I’m sure anybody else would have put the thing out of its misery and replaced it long ago, but to my uncle this is still a perfectly serviceable shed. And looking at it again the other day, in a slightly more upbeat mood, it struck me that if you put a pair of ruby slippers just underneath it, you’d have the beginnings of a small but workable Wizard of Oz theme park.
I could imagine the crazy paving from the drive up to the shed being extended beyond into the garden and coloured yellow. I could picture buckets of water by witches’ hats, perhaps with options hurl water over dissolving witches; or even to dress up as a witch and dodge the thrown water. You could be welcomed on your visit by a couple of Munchkins, and you could queue up for photo opportunities with your favourite characters. I wouldn’t be advocating building the Wizard of Oz’s castle from day one, but I’d certainly look at hanging a curtain and telling people to pay no attention to the man behind it. And while a ride in a full scale balloon would be out of the question given the size of the operation, there’s no reason not to take advantage of tricks of perspective, and launch a small action figure under a cunningly disguised, helium filled party balloon.
My last visit to my uncle’s house had me chuckling to myself all the way home as I dreamed up more and more Oz related attractions for the theme park, built into the tiny garden. All complete nonsense of course, as I realised when I revisited the ideas the following day. But a more interesting point occurred to me that you don’t necessarily have to be big to think big. Some of the best ideas, that have seen the rise of the biggest companies, have had the most humble beginnings. What those companies had was a vision, a spirit of entrepreneurship, a degree of daring I have no doubt, but also an ability to think big but break the processes down into small and manageable steps. Thinking big and starting small perhaps even gives you an advantage, in that you can learn the steps required to deliver successful results while negotiating the many pitfalls.
Indeed, it could even be argued that even the smallest of businesses absolutely have to think big, because by thinking small they will end up limiting themselves, failing to implement key strategies and processes that are essential today for any business. However small you are, if you think big, dreams really can come true – with or without a rainbow.
Mark Simms Editor
Industrial Technology - NEWS