Ideas to help the coffee community succeed in 2022

Looking Forwards series

We’re heading into the new year with ideas from some of the coffee community’s leading thinkers

Action always starts with an idea. While it’s easy to appreciate that some ideas are better than others, at times it can be difficult to tell the difference between a good idea and a bad idea.

‘Good’ ideas might simply be defined as ideas that work. In practice, plans built on good ideas have a higher chance of success. Good ideas help us to appreciate more accurately the situation we find ourselves in, to identify opportunities and to understand the challenges. In doing so they offer clarity, can instil confidence and are the foundation of a better course of action.

By contrast, ideas are ‘bad’ because they point us in the wrong direction, encourage us to play a game that doesn’t count or create blind spots preventing us from seeing the weakness in our strategy.

Clearly the challenge for anyone wanting to take action is to identify the better ideas.

Good ideas generally take two forms. The first form is that they are insightful as they explain the world around us. In this form, a good idea will help us understand the past, offer insight into the present and help us to predict the future. Think of these ideas getting an updated prescription for your glasses. Before things were unclear, you lacked focus and the future seemed to come out of nowhere. Finding the right ideas is like using the right lens to make things clearer.

As an important side note, the right lens doesn’t necessarily make the situation more comfortable or beautiful or easier to manage – it just allows you to see things more clearly.

In their other form, good ideas can offer a compelling vision for who we are and how things can work better. These ideas are aspirational in the sense that they don’t seek to understand the world, rather they’re a mission statement on how it can be improved. By definition they encourage action to change the status quo.

There’s place in the coffee industry for both forms of good ideas, but it’s important to identify which-is-which. It’s my casual observation that the second form of good idea can help us identify what we want to do, but we require the first form of good idea to figure out how we are going to do it.

The astute will have noted that ideas are everywhere, but good ideas are often in short supply. So with (hopefully) the greatest challenges of the covid pandemic behind us, we have asked some of the most interesting thinkers in coffee to share their thoughts for 2022.

There’s a diversity of thought from ranging from the serious to the idiosyncratic in the ideas I’ve received in to date. And for the others? At this stage, I have no idea of what’s going to be turned in. It’s rather exciting. United Baristas simply asked all the contributors to write a short note about something that was on their mind for the coming year.

I understand the most generous thing United Baristas can do is help you succeed, so here’s some ideas to get you started. Whatever you decide to do in 2022, the team at United Baristas wishes you all the best.