Paul Maliszewski has a pretty amusing essay in The Baffler about Wacker and Mathews, a consulting team that helps businesses and organizations become more creative.
Wacker and Mathews say that they, like the alchemists of old, “challenge convention”; they show too much humility or perhaps are reluctant to brag. Ancient alchemists spent years of pointless experimentation and fruitless inquiry that resulted in only a few practical pay-offs and meager returns on their kings’ hefty capital investments. It was an alchemist, Wacker and Mathews claim, with not a little pride, who gave William the Conqueror the idea to fashion his army’s shields from hermatite, a hard mineral, more durable than wood, thus improving his ability to kick ass. Companies retaining the services and counsel of Wacker and Mathews cannot reasonably expect these two—“professional fools,” (http://firstmatter.com/promise.asp) as they call themselves—to help vanquish the competition and seize valuable market-share, or, for that matter, invade England. But don’t allow that failure, however obvious, to be the only measure of their value as authors, futurists, thinkers, and alchemists. Wacker and Mathews have in fact succeeded where every alchemist before them has failed. They have turned shit into gold.