We live in a fast-moving world. Stuff’s changing rapidly. So, are your metaphors out-of-date?
This issue has come up for me a couple of times recently.
- In a workshop at QCon London, my friend Richard Kasperowski introduced Mob Programming using a metaphor of a driver and a navigator. He added, “Imagine it’s the olden days, when you had a human navigator.”
- In one of my online classes, we were talking about developing metaphors using Clean Language. I explained, “That’s developing like an old-fashioned photography lab, where you dipped the photo in a tray of liquid for a while and eventually, the picture emerged. The point is, you want to hold the person’s attention in one place for a while.”
In the 21st century, it’s probably time to stop using metaphors in training that have to be explained like that. Apart from anything else, it makes me feel ancient!
It ought to be easy to update these metaphors. Just use Clean Language! But in both these examples, it turns out to be tricky. The very concept that’s being described in metaphor feels a little tiny bit old-fashioned.
One person guiding another? Why would anyone do that when they had satnav?
Holding something still, and waiting? Does that even happen any more?
And of course, I’m the one that’s racking my brains here. I’m the age I am, and I can’t change that. Navigators and developing photos are part of my life experience.
What I probably need is a young person. Then I could ask them, “And when holding something still, and waiting, for you, that’s holding something still and waiting… like… what?”
Answers gratefully received! Please comment below.