The Civilizational BHAG.

4 February 2006

A BHAG, in the world of business especially, is a “big, hairy, audacious goal” (or, in some vernaculars, a “big, hairy-assed goal”). It means the sort of breathtaking goal that arises from some compound of chutzpah, vision, and simple craziness. It is the sort of goal that might become quixotic in the wrong hands–or that might change the fate of an entire industry.

Tom Peters is fond of quoting a Hewlett-Packard advertisement that had the tagline “Have you changed civilization today?”

The idea is right. We should change civilization. Or rather, we are already making inputs into the direction and tenor of civilization, so we might as well do it intentionally and in a direction of our choosing.

There are bad folks in the world–whether we’re talking about super-baddies like terrorist masterminds or garden-variety types like thoughtless corporate rapers of the earth. These people have plans for where they want civilization to go. They are enacting these plans, even as we speak, to send civilization in these bad, wrong directions.

The beneficial Civilizational BHAG would seem to be the good antidote for this. I haven’t come up with mine yet: any suggestions?

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