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Fear And Dejection Syndrome FADS

October 22, 2010

FADS! Just humour me for a moment, think back … rack your brain, and see how many Fads (leaving aside fashion and hairstyles) you can name?

True FADs?
How many FADs did you come up with? … Not many? Me either! If you did come up with some, please let me know (comment below) and we can make a list, you never know at what trivia night it might turn out to be useful. Now leaving mullets, leather ties, shoulder-pads, rat-tails and flat-tops aside, my premise is that more innovation, change and otherwise emerging ideas are given the derogatory tile of FAD than should in fact be the case. I argue, that true instances of short-lived, mob or segment driven hype are relatively rare. I am further suggesting that items and trends that start us along a pathway to successful innovation, morphing over the journey, do not count as FADs either. So don’t try and give me the Apple Newton or Palm Pilot as examples of a FAD if you’re busy typing your comment on an iPad or smart-phone.

The case for a new definition of FADS
I want to remake FADS as something more enlightened and representative of our modern society and rapid rate of change and innovation. FADS, or as I prefer to think of it, Fear And Dejection Syndrome or the acronym (FADS), is a far more suitable and relevant use of these four letters. Here, the derogatory meaning is not attributed to the innovation at hand, but rather, it is aimed squarely at those who would denigrate it and make their case for a ‘head-in-the-sand’ position. A few of my ex-Komodo CMS colleagues should put their hands in the air about now. Why would Social Media be an important addition for web publishing?

Why is there an epidemic of FADS?
It is not surprising really, that Fear and Dejection Syndrome is all but rampant and highly contagious. The media are all over it, love reporting on FADS, and are in most circumstances a carrier if not a cause. It is the fault of those Intertubes, Twitfacers and Generation X, Why’s or Zeds (rapidly running out of alphabet here). They don’t care about appointed status, tenure, tradition, protocols, ROI and letting me get away from an endless learning curve. Even profits can’t be discussed without social responsibility, vision, environment and integrity. I was going to play a workplace responsibility video but couldn’t find a VCR and most of my staff didn’t even know what one was. How did on-demand happen and what am I supposed to do with my media schedule. It’s all too hard. Now when they try to bring this stuff into my workplace, my social group and indirectly undermine my years of experience, I draw the line. Surely it must all be a fad. They can’t monetize it, it won’t support my revenue model and I don’t have the staff with the expertise or experience to deal with it.

Is there a reason for change rejection, buried in my enjoyable role-play above, that works for you? Or do you have a better reason to regularly reject change and innovation? Email, Internet, Smart Phones, Internet TV, Social Media – really all part of a long litany of FADS. I jest! In reality, all quality innovation that elicits broad societal change, has come to be rallied against by those suffering from Fear and Dejection Syndrome (FADS). The world used to be flat, in the middle of the universe and had a climate unaffected by its human tenants. Or so those infected with FADS would have us believe.

When you stop changing – you’re dead!
It may take a while to notice (breathing is the give away)! Once, in the glory days, you were innovating, changing the status quo, shaking it up, taking it to the establishment, creating value and giving the former industry leader a run for their money. Somewhere along the journey, the change, innovation and energy took hold and success resulted. Success meant locking in things that were known to work, you stopped innovating, changing, shaking it up and eventually became the establishment and ultimately stopped creating value. If so, your last gasp is FADS – Fear and Dejection. If not, you need to take heed of the cautionary tale.

If you are from the generation before me, before we jumped toward the end of the Alphabet, you may remember, a guy called Bob Dylan said “don’t criticize what you can’t understand … your old road is rapidly aging, please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand”. Well it wasn’t simply a philosophy for the times, it is moreover a perpetual truism. We move forward, with missteps along the way, to a point that changes the truths, norms, behaviours and technologies of preceding ages. Changing our environment is inseparable from our humanity.

Next time you want to call something a FAD, just ask yourself is the change in question really useless or are you suffering from Fear and Dejection Syndrome?

Get on-board, the future hasn’t left yet!

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