Marvel’s No-Prize is a fake award, but its value is very real.

marvel no prize

Started in the mid 1960s, the No-Prize was awarded to super fans who spotted inconsistencies in the Marvel comics. Originally a No Prize was a literal empty envelope. Nothing. But to the people that earned them, they were truly invaluable.

Putting aside the ingenious spin at play here of turning what is essentially a product defect into a coveted object, there’s something else to be learned from the Marvel No-Prize. Value is subjective.

This year I have been astonished at how many people undervalue their abilities, expertise and experience. And by how much they undervalue them.

Also surprising to me is the number of clients who make things more complicated than they need to be. It’s as though the entire design thinking movement has hijacked things towards filigree rather than jugaad thinking.

More and more I find myself leaning towards a “something is better than nothing” approach. Sure, do one thing well, not ten things half arsed, but actually DO the thing.

Even when you think it’s nothing of value, someone else will think it’s something precious.