Friday 15 August 2014

Forgiveness beats permission: Antony Gough edition

In post-quake Christchurch, getting anything done was effectively illegal. And so those determined to get things done needed to be creative.

Georgina Stylianou reports on a talk Antony Gough gave at Canterbury yesterday. He'd said a few similar things in his address to the College on receiving his Honorary Doctorate earlier this year.
He told the packed meeting room not to take no for an answer and listed examples of when he had successfully challenged authority in the past, particularly after the earthquakes. 
He gained temporary unpaid employment with a demolition company to get access to one of his damaged central city buildings. He also convinced his engineers to do another inspection of a property with the sole purpose of rescuing his computer servers.
He managed to obtain the first month-long pass into the CBD red zone and became the ''naughty person who would go into town and take photos''.
''I told them there was no way that was going to happen... I broke the rules and got the square reopened.''
As the unpaid employee of a demolition company, he was able to pack up luggage left behind by guests at the Poplars Apartment Hotel and spent thousands of dollars shipping it around the world.
Antony Gough: hero.

I'm sure many others have stories of sneaky night-time raids to rescue cordoned-off computer servers. Hopefully, sometime in the future, they'll be able to tell their stories without fear of being fired for it by their overly process-bound bosses.

It would be interesting to have a measure of the degree to which different firms or industries make it easier to seek forgiveness for doing awesome things than to seek permission to do it in the first place.

I'm not sure academia would come out well.

1 comment:

  1. As one of the guests present in the Poplars Hotel when the earthquake struck I shall always be grateful to Antony for his immediate assistance, hospitality at his home and for rescuing most of my possessions from the wreckage and sending them to me in the UK. I admire his efforts and initiative in the reconstruction of Christchurch,