Letter: Common sense vs modish ideas

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have just completed over twenty years involved in running divisions of major corporations in the UK and have been actively involved in developing ideas as well as receiving them ("Tied to the stake of modish ideas", 26 July).

There are many fads that appear whenever a writer (usually American) wants to reap the rewards of an active brain. It is the ability of businessmen and women to understand those ideas and (through common sense) develop their own response to them that can differentiate their business from the competition.

The trend amongst too many in the UK is to use total scepticism as an excuse for doing nothing different. Innovation and creativity are nothing new but management thinkers since Taylor have made people think more or think again. Whether you agree with the likes of Tom Peters or Charles Handy or not, they provoke thought and can help to generate ideas.

If technology were to progress by "common sense" alone we would be nowhere near where we are today. Science proceeds through hypothesis to theory via experience. Why should it be so different when it comes to the far more complex problem of developing ways for people to work, be creative and fulfilled? The US has shown a tremendous business spirit and creative upsurge in the last few years that has corresponded with a generation of management thoughts and ideas. We in the UK should be encouraging ourselves to take part by using our brains to assess which are relevant and which are not - rather than ridiculing the lot.