It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission

A phrase attributed to Grace Hopper, a name very few people know but whose work should put her alongside Alan Turing. Please do read about her.

Anyway, the quote. It is constantly misused with the central point being totally missed in order to justify doing what is right for yourself and not for a wider team. When Grace Hopper said this it was in reference to working in a large hierarchical organisation where trying to do something new would require approval at many levels and never go anywhere. Working in the best interests of the organisation by doing the right thing AND avoiding that which would make it impossible. Asking forgiveness for something with a net positive impact, not for something bad.

This is not the same as breaking established norms within a team to make your life or the life of your immediate co-workers easier in the short term. It's not a get-out-of-jail-free card that you can throw down after selfishly doing the wrong thing.

I often come back to Tom Sachs' Ten Bullets, the workshop manual for employees at his studio. Not just the short film, a perfect small zine that is essentially a pocket handbook. The first words upon opening it are 'Creativity is the Enemy'. Even in art, a team should work in the same direction to meet the end goal. Carving your own path by making choices outside of the established norm - without permission - is likely to to be detrimental and make you unpopular.