Perhaps it’s time for us all to hate something, asks Giles Lury
Forget passion, find something you want to punch – or so says Nathalie Molina Nino.
She channelled her anger into creating Brava, a new and different kind of investment whose aim is to create a billion-dollar portfolio from scratch by bankrolling start-ups on one condition; the businesses must disproportionately benefit women. They aren’t concerned with creating the next woman billionaire than they are with creating wealth for a billion women.
Nino is a perfect example of a trend that has emerged over the last couple of years. Anger as a force for good.
While its easy to think of innovation and creativity as positive concepts, hate is often the true spur to change.
The #MeToo movement was started by woman who had had enough, enough of the continuing injustices and physical abuse towards their sex. Many of its leading figures have said that it was real anger that was the spark which ignited the movement.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is another woman who has openly spoken of how anger has spurned her on.
So why should women be getting angry?
The potential in anger is at least in part explained by G. B. Shaw, in his famous quote “the reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. Progress therefore depends on the unreasonable man”.
Despite its inherent sexism and the fact that it ignores the notion of unreasonable women, it does suggest why real anger is such a powerful driving force.
It’s too easy to accept things as they are, to make do with the status quo, to not make a fuss. We often need something to jolt us into action.
In broader society it is this anger that drives people out onto the streets. It’s a sense of injustice that inspires people to take a stand, something that can be seen manifesting itself in movements such “March for our lives”. As Emma González, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the high school where the movement started said, “Maybe the adults have gotten used to saying ‘it is what it is, but if us students have learned anything, it’s that if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it’s time to start doing something.”
In other arenas, anger has also been recognised as the source of inspiration. Jerry Seinfeld is just one comedian who sees the potential in things you hate. Talking about the development of his award-winning ‘Seinfeld’ series, he explained “that it very important to know what you don’t like”. He believes “that a big part of innovation starts with someone saying ‘you know what I’m sick of’”
In my own field of marketing while researching the inspiration behind some of the world’s biggest and most famous brands, I found stories of how they had been created thanks to curiosity, ingenuity, serendipity or love but I also found as many, if not more, that were driven by anger, disgust, embarrassment, frustration, pain or hate. Innovations succeed when they address our needs – they make our lives better, which again sounds positive.
However, making our lives better is often about solving problems; problems that annoy, irritate, frustrate and anger us. Innovators often develop products that solve things that make them personally angry and then discover that those same things were annoying millions of others.
So, perhaps it’s time for us all to hate something, to change something and make it better.
Giles Lury is a director of brand consultancy, the Value Engineers, and author of “Inspiring innovation: 75 marketing tales to help you find the next big thing”