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Rushing ahead for more of the same

I’ve been thinking about change and transformation. It seems to me that most things that are “new” are often just the same things we’ve always had, perhaps with an incremental change here or there. A new computer has a slightly faster chip or a screen that’s an inch larger on the diagonal. Even the questions we asked are often worded in such a way as to create the context or framework for the answer.

The current buzz word flying through the air is innovation. For me the challenge with innovation is not to design a process that creates an opportunity for brainstorming or mind mapping that leads to the slightly different. And I will concede that any process or method has built-in biases for outcomes.  The challenge is to create an environment or an experience that pushes us to go beyond our assumptions and self-imposed boundaries.

Perhaps the key is to live the questions, to hold the opposing demands together: experimenting with reproducibility, spontaneity with stability, and surprising serendipity with effective efficiency. This is easier said than done. The beginning is to move to the level of systems thinking where we not only seek to understand and be understood, but to integrate the pieces into a whole.

Creating an environment that fosters space for innovation will require strategic planning and storytelling, mission statements and poetry, and schematic drawings and publicly visible art. My hope is to discover a road less traveled rather than rushing along the interstate of life, rushing ahead for more of the same.

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