Smashing Paradigms – River Boats

In yesterday’s post I shared a story I tell to bring people to a common understanding of the word “Paradigm”

Linked to this is the phrase : ‘We’ve always done it this way”

To me, a paradigm implies a lack of awareness that one even exists (hence the story of the four monkeys to demonstrate what this feels like rather than intellectualising it !

For today, then, an example I’ve come across since moving to London. I sense this may be a recurring series, as in considering this, I can already think of many similar themes I can write stories about. So…

Why do we go underground to commute instead of enjoying this view ?

river boat

This was the view of the Thames as I took the river boat last week to a meeting in Canary Wharf. From where I live (Chelsea) to Canary Wharf, the typical option would have been to take a bus and then two “tube” (underground/metro) rides and it would take about 50 minutes to get from point A to point B.

However, instead of being crammed inside hot and noisy tubes, I walked a few minutes to board a river boat down to Canary Wharf, and the whole journey still only took me the same 50 minutes, only it was a gorgeous sunny Autumn day, the boat was quiet, the views spectacular, and they had good coffee too !

In short, commuting by River Boat (or “Thames Clipper” is a best kept secret”). For more on the history or the regeneration of passenger traffic on the river, these two articles are fascinating : 1 and 2.

The Canary Wharf tube station alone is used by over 55 million people each year, the vast majority of whom are commuters. Jubilee line tubes at “rush hour” are crammed like sardines in a tin and it is very much “standing room only”.

Thames Clippers are quiet, peaceful, and nice seats for everyone. Did I mention they also serve coffee ?

Thames Clippers story began with one boat in 1999 and passenger growth is now growing past 4 million passengers, though this is on all routes, and quite a number of those are leisure passengers/ tourists. A tiny fraction of tube passengers.

Go a level further. Go to the most popular apps and get them to map your journey across London and only very rarely would they even give you a river option.

There is almost unlimited and insatiable demand from London commuters, yet when I told people that I’d commuted by river boat, they seemed either totally unaware of this option or had only limited awareness.

After all, if we consider how we get to work (either as individuals or if we are looking at this as an entrepreneur or from a public policy standpoint), to what level do we even bring awareness to fresh choices, or do we mostly simply think “we’ve always done it this way ?“.

Today as I was in the middle of writing this post, a friend and I were talking about entrepreneurship. One definition of this is to “take an opening”, and commonly this refers to the way we make money in life. However, if we broaden this somewhat, consider that most entrepreneurs are to some level driven by freedom, flexibility, choice, happiness.

Consider where we can bring awareness to all choices in our lives. Where might we “take an opening” to make different choices, however small, that can bring freedom, flexibility, happiness to our lives.

See you on the river boat, perhaps ?