For every high-profile project there are ten better versions quietly getting on with it
which strikes me as poetically true if not always literally so. I see a lot of this in the world of innovation where shiny grandiosity replaces the lower status tinkering that more likely yields results. It reminds me of Donald Clarks distinction:
First, there’s what I call MOSQUITO projects, that sound buzzy but lack leadership, real substance, scalability and sustainability, and they’re short-lived, often dying as soon as the funding runs out or academic paper is published. Then there’s TURTLES, sometimes duller but with substance, scalability and sustainability, and they’re long-lived
Every formal project will have its shadow side, and the bigger and more grand the more likely you are to find interesting stuff happening away from the spotlight.
(I’ve written before about how this applies to any process we use in meetings or organisations.)