Do Tradition and Innovation oppose themselves on the way of continuous improvement?

Do you like traditional festivals?

Personally, I answer “Yes” … since I was a child, I’ve been enjoying attending and participating actively wherever I can in the regular events of my city and during my holidays, I am interested in getting to know a new region and its habitats through its habits and numerous and varied rites, especially in summer.
Tradition is for me the place where collective values, team spirit with the commitment of all the volunteers who participate, the attachment to a land, a culture, a transmission of knowledge between generations . This knowledge capital is impersonal and often oral – our virtualization of our economy can not describe it correctly.
Thus, I’ve just returned from family summer holidays in Malta, a small Mediterranean island, endowed with a rich history of Europe. For more than 10 years I have not been there and it has been with great pleasure that I rediscovered its unique atmosphere and the welcome of its inhabitants. Previous regular professional assignments have allowed me to forge relationships that are now friendly with many native people. I did have wonderful time to meet them again. One evening, a Maltese friend invited me to a real traditional evening in his village, a “festa”, an annual Catholic celebration celebrating the village Saint, combining processions, songs, day and night fireworks that lasted several weeks and end up with an evening where all the locals inhabitants meet together. Each village thus has its “festa” between July and September. Thus, the 440,000 inhabitants of this archipelago could be considered as turning to excessive traditionalism, and not to modernity and the market economy … and yet some figures make  us dreaming by us (french): the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in Europe (officially <5%, in reality virtually nil) and several high-tech companies (medical, electronics, automotive, …) thrive there by attracting many expatriates from all countries (Europe, USA,…). For example, the tourist economy (hotels, restaurants, ….) uses a strong foreign workforce and in front of most of the shops, I could see the poster “looking for salesman / salesgirl” … from our apartment located in a fishermen village, I could count more than 15 cranes synonymous with a boom in the building too!
Tradition and modernity are not opposed, but in a systemic vision become complementary and indissociable.
To quote from the French academician Jean d’Ormesson: “Tradition is a progress that has succeeded” … so, where none could find resistance to change and a lament nostalgia (“it was better before …”), I think that these sometimes shifted experiences invite us to take time to rediscover certain fundamentals of collective performance and become strong anchors to the incremental evolutionary model …. by analogy in our world of business, the transmission of knowledge between old and new arrivals and all kinds of rites between colleagues and their managers is important to maintain and require some temporality; moreover, some know-how can not be transcribed by a procedure, but a real learning is necessary to ensure a continuity of the processes and allow their continuous improvement …. evolution yes, the revolution … no!
Richard, aug19th 2017


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