--A place where refuse is dumped.
--An unordered accumulation; a pile.
--Slang. A poorly maintained or disreputable place.
--Vulgar Slang. An act of defecating.
In the excellent Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan pinpoint the exact reason why so many think tanks are actually brain dumps: They aren’t interested in the “how” of getting things done; that’s for somebody else to think about. (Page 35)
The quintessential example The Jenius has of a brain dump is that of the misnamed Center for the New Economy, a group created in 1999 purportedly to advance Puerto Rico’s economic progress. A previous Jenius post covered their misaligned structure and one mentioned them as a collection of obstacles, but this time The Jenius takes aim at their very existence.
The Center for the New Economy is a failure destined to never get any better. Aside from its highly-cynical mission/team construct, the very philosophy of the CNE is a tribute to vapidity. At most, the CNE intends to help create policy that will influence the possible development of Puerto Rico. That’s like thinking about buying a Band-Aid while the patient bleeds from a severed leg.
Not that Our economy is that bad. What is bad—farcical, in fact—is that the CNE believes it can think its way into a leadership role, keeping its already-compromised hands “clean” from the “dirty work” of actually getting the job done. To go back to My analogy, they want to do a study justifying a loan for Band-Aids, but won’t even consider applying a tourniquet.
Though the CNE is an egregious example of non-execution (synonym: uselessness), it is by no means the only one in Puerto Rico. There seems to be a widespread notion that pure thought is the key to making things happen. What utter nonsense. It’s as if Napoleon drew up elaborate battle plans and expected to win only with the paper the plan was on.
First of all, most of those seeking “brainiac” status have the brainpower of spastic field mice, more intent on fleeing from threats (such as that of actually doing something effective) than seeking new horizons. Second, only a handful of people anywhere can use pure thought to make things happen, but even those know that their effectiveness is based entirely on getting into the trenches and making things happen.
But returning to the analogy (the one that mentions Napoleon), these would-be braniacs want to be Napoleon, the über-general, barking out orders so that minions jump in fear to do their bidding. The CNE seeks Napoleonic status, creating widespread changes from “on high,” reaping the rewards without making much of an effort. (Their output of almost 6 years can be easily exceeded in quantity and quality in two semesters by any average high school civics class.) They cling to image and are empty of substance.
Napoleon ended up exiled and his many wannabes are mythically tossed in asylums. Would that We could do something similar to the wannabe CNE.
The Jenius Has Spoken.