Innovation Management

 We Missed Towel Day! So – Reread the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

By Shlomo Maital


 Adams’ favorite phrase on his book’s cover: Don’t Panic!

Yikes! Innovators! We missed Towel Day in this blog!  Towel Day is May 25. It was launched by fans of Douglas Adams, author of the wildly imaginative five-book trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams.  Adams died suddenly of a heart attack on May 11, 2001.  Once he stayed at a friend’s
beach house. He realized each day that he could never remember where he had
left his towel, the day before. One of his friends then came up with  a saying to define competent people: “someone who knows where his towel is”.  Adam uses
this phrase in his first book.

Adams believed in an aleatoric (random) universe.  In one of the most creative passages, you may recall, a super-super computer Deep Thought (a la Deep Throat) works for 7.5 million years (far longer than it took to produce humans) to find the Ultimate Answer (to an Ultimate Question, which remains forever unknown).  At least Deep Thought gets it!  The answer is…  42.    Adams was utterly uninhibited in all of the five Hitchhiker books.  He was fearless.  He wrote whatever he felt like, he never wrote for critics, he never feared ridicule, he never sought fame, fortune and bestseller-dom, he never wrote to a formula, and he never repeated himself in any of the five books.  All are wildly imaginative, in different ways, inventing characters so impossible they are believable. For instance, the Babel fish, a tiny leech thing that you put in your ear, that translates the brain-wave words of any creature in the Galaxy directly into your brain,  undoing the punishment G-d gave us for the Tower of Babel. 
This creature, Adams writes, by facilitating seamless communication between different races and cultures, “caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”   Imagine if our enemies and foes could know instantly what we thought of them. Or, for that matter, our significant others….!?

Innovator, if you feel the creative juices  ebbing, pick up one of the Hitchhiker books at random, read a few passages, anywhere in the book – and then take chances, like Adams.  And keep a towel around, a small one, as a reminder.   But on second thought – don’t bother, you’ll probably forget where you put it.