At the risk of being a little stereotypical, it’s safe to say that many of us techies also happen to be fans of science fiction and smart comedy. Given this crossover, it’s interesting to note that whether urban legend or production fact, some of the most iconic creative breakthroughs in entertainment have sprouted from tight budgets.
With many companies tightening the belt but still wanting to achieve more than ever the last few years, perhaps we can derive a little inspiration from these examples to help IT teams rise up as heroes.
Take for example the transporter beam from “Star Trek.” A number of sources report that there wasn’t enough budget to shoot a shuttlecraft leaving the Enterprise for planet exploration, so the creative team devised the transporter as a workaround. Interestingly, this creative fix is something that endures today in pop culture, and is certainly something I’m sure many of us fantasise about when stuck on planes for business travel.
Another example comes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Remember the scene in which our brave heroes clomp coconuts together to simulate horseback riding? Horses and their care can get pricey, so production history notes that this campy joke was born out of the need to roll tape and stay out of the red.
While budget cuts can be incredibly frustrating, the limitations can often spur innovations like these. When times are good and money is flowing, there’s often no need to reexamine what can be done more cost effectively. This can lead to stagnation, which is no fun for any technical expert.
Looking beyond the frustration, needing to save money while still achieving more can serve as inspiration for innovation. For example, many IT pros are now reexamining scaled out storage and instead moving performance to the server with flash memory to power their applications.
Early adopters of this shift were innovators that had great ideas but not necessarily tons of cash. These visionaries proved the reliability and value of moving performance to the server, and today, many other enterprises that need to achieve more with less are also rapidly shifting from sprawl to efficiency.
We’ve come a long way from the era of the original “Star Trek” and “Monty Python” films, but certainly they continue to inspire and entertain us today. When we’re faced with tightening budgets, perhaps their lessons in innovation can help us be inspired to seek out bold new ways of doing things better.