Perfect stems from the Latin word perfectum, which means „completed“ from the verb preficere: to finish, to execute, to accomplish.
Interesting. Things are perfect when they are finished.
If you walk through the Facebook Campus in Silicon Valley, you will find a poster all over saying: „Done is better than perfect“. But actually it should say „DONE IS PERFECT „.
Perfectum doesn’t say: it is perfect when it is finished and immaculate, or finished and in the best possible condition, without mistakes, or other meanings I found:
Imperfect in that sense just says: not complete yet.
Painters might paint a picture and it could be „perfect“ after 10 minutes or 3 years. Who could tell whether it is perfect, finished, lacking nothing essential, complete, if not the painter? And what if it was a choice, our choice, whether some thing, a task, a product is finished and when not? Who will ever know?
The search for perfection kills innovation
If it comes to business ideas, new product and innovation, our concept we have about perfection in terms of „nothing to add, no mistakes, ideal..“ can hinder us from creating new products and services. To the point, that we never put something out in the world, as we don’t consider it perfect or complete yet.
Preliminarity and rapid prototyping: Good enough is the new perfect
What can help to get things going and to consider whether they are perfect, lets introduce these two question from design thinking and rapid prototyping. An idea/product is perfect/complete, when it is
1- is it good enough to start
2- is it safe enough to try
These question can be a very useful criteria in terms of considering something „perfect“ in terms of complete, finished. And to take into consideration, that everything is preliminary, be it the new iPhone or a new medical invention: until the next best iteration is finished.
Our Life will never be perfect, as long as it lasts..
Life is an ongoing, messy, wild, unpredictable, sometimes great and oftentimes not so great process, where all kind of stuff is happening we did not plan for.
And all but perfect, as long and because we are alive! The only state we will ever be perfect as a human will be the moment we are dead: Our life will be perfect when it is completed, finished, accomplished and belongs to the past.
We can DO perfect, but not BE perfect.
While we are alive we can complete tasks, products, pieces of art. Just we, ourselves, will be imperfect as long as we live, because this is what life is about.
We are all imperfect beings producing all kinds of perfect results.
This post is inspired by Christiane Bertolini and the DNA Team.
More about Perfect Imperfect at the DNA Smart Afternoon, October 5th 2016 in Vienna: