“Strapbooting: The ability to implement an instant bootstrapping solution at the spur of the idea!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Perhaps the most innovation-oriented movie scene of all time had to do with the moment that the team at Mission Control came together to come up with a quick solution to the fact that the carbon dioxide level in the cabin was becoming critical. If not solved, the problem would fatally end the mission.
The short version of the scene is here – an engineering team took a quick assessment of what was available onboard the cabin 200,000+ miles away – and based on that inventory, managed to figure out a way to put together a unique air filter contraption that would solve the problem.
It’s a remarkable moment within the movie and in reality – and marks one of the most successful moments throughout the entire history of spaceflight. It’s also an inspiration for anyone who might consider themselves an innovation nerd since the moment has it all – teamwork, creativity, ingenuity, and attitude that it must be done. Failure was not an option.
I’ve long looked at this moment as the type of thinking that we can always apply when suddenly faced with a unique situation. We should all have in our back pocket the ability, when confronted with a difficult problem, to quickly figure out a solution for going forward. This involves taking a bit of an inventory of what you have available, and figuring out how to solve the problem using only what you have.
This was the case with a short little live broadcast that I did yesterday featuring a look back at my ‘23 Trends for 2023‘ series which I wrote last year. You can take a look at the 2023 series here – it’s an interesting series of predictions to look back upon. You can find it, of course, at https://2023.jimcarroll.com.
I decided the other day I should do a short ‘show’ about this series.
The problem? I’m up at my ski chalet this week, getting in some time with one of my favorite activities, even though the weather is pretty uncooperative, the skiing is a bit marginal, and most of North America is not yet having a great ski season. Even so, I’m able to get out on the hill most mornings and enjoy my time while working during the rest of the day on my laptop.
While I was out on the hill early New Year’s morning – the first guy at the chairlift for 2024! – I was thinking through my mind about the idea that I should do a recap show of that series of trend predictions. The idea that formed in my mind was that I could walk through each of the 23 trends that I covered, and give a bit of an overview of how accurate my prediction was, and how things turned out through the year.
The problem was that my virtual broadcast studio was far away – at home.
It’s a fairly sophisticated setup, as you can see – and allowed me to do several fairly sophisticated virtual presentations during the lockdown. You can see some of that work at https://virtual.jimcarroll.com.
Not to worry – I could innovate my way out of the problem!
I took a quick inventory of what I had at my disposal at the chalet – a few studio lights that were kicking around and a green sheet that we had used years back when I created a temporary green screen studio here. I had a second monitor available, which would help me to manage a show while going live. I also had an extra microphone, and a few tripods to hold the lights. Better yet, I’ve come to master my use of Canva and realized that I could construct a scene that would show only my face rather than my full torso, which would help me create a scene that worked with the limited setup I had available.
Somewhere along the way, I coined the phrase in my mind that I was ‘strapbooting’ my way into a solution — quickly bootstrapping myself into a path forward. The word stuck – and this is the quick little green screen studio I prepared in one of our extra rooms – having shoved the mattress in the room up against the wall.
How could I turn this into something realistic? In Canva, I created a little scene that looked like this. The way things work, I can make the green sections in the image blend with the green sheet on the wall, and substitute in my camera and other special effects. That’s how greenscreening works.
With a little bit of time and a bit more fooling around with my broadcast software of choice, eCamm Live, I was able to create something that looked like this:
Not everything went according to plan though – when you are moving fast, fast unexpected things can happen. My microphone setup went wonky 30 seconds before my scheduled ‘go live’ time, and I had to quickly flip the setup over to use the microphone on my iPhone. Not thinking, I placed the phone on my laptop – which I later discovered managed to capture the sound of the fan throughout the show, pretty much ruining the sound quality.
Not only that, but I’ve got something else going on. Over the last several days, my Web site has been subjected to what is known as a ‘denial of service‘ attack. It seems that some loser out there has decided to try to hack my site by flooding it with requests. The impact is that my site slows down, becomes unavailable, and suffers from some challenges. The attack seems to be coming and going as I learn the steps to mitigate the attack – and that’s a whole separate post for a whole separate day! Suffice it to say, the attack ramped up once again during the broadcast, challenging my ability to show some of the trend predictions I was talking about.
What a fun project though!
Do I count it to be a failure?
Not at all! I had fun, learned some new things, reemphasized the need for always having the ability to do fast-paced innovation – and got myself thinking that I could easily create myself a little portable green-screen broadcast studio that I could take anywhere!
Overall, I successfully strapbooted myself into a bootstrapping solution!