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Artisans, Trespass and Productivity.
Between the early 1600’s and the early 1900’s, the Enclosure Acts were a series of United Kingdom Acts of Parliament that enclosed open fields and common land, creating legal property rights to land that was previously considered common. We invented the idea of property. Today, the country landowners association, with thirty-three thousand members, owns half of the land in England and Wales.
The trouble with land, of course, is that we don’t make it any more, so where do we take the idea of enclosing the commons when we’ve run out of it?
Organisations; move from the tangible to the intangible and put fences up that keep unwanted influences out. Separate innovation from operations, strategy from accounts, and purpose from everybody except the investors. HR as gamekeepers, without the tweed jackets.
The Kinder mass trespass was an act of wilful trespass by ramblers and members of the Young Communist League. It was undertaken at Kinder Scout, in the Peak District of Derbyshire, England, on 24 April 1932, to highlight the fact that walkers in England and Wales were denied access to areas of open country. As a result, open access land currently covers around eight per cent of land in England and Wales and focuses mainly on upland land types, like mountains, moors, heaths and downs. Not much, but a start.
It’s perhaps unsurprising we are so concerned about productivity and innovation when so few people have the freedom to explore, instead having to navigate limited rights of way between departments and information.
It’s one of the reasons artisans matter. They are natural trespassers, going to places they need to find the materials they are drawn to to create what they are compelled to.
Trespass is largely a marketing exercise. A notice saying “Trespassers will be prosecuted” aimed at deterring people from using a private drive, for instance, is usually meaningless. Criminal prosecution could only arise if you trespass and damage property. The laws are constantly being tightened, but wandering off the beaten organisational track is not the heinous sin HR would like us to think.
If we want to improve productivity, maybe we need a few latter-day mass trespasses.
Have a great day. Don’t tread too carefully.