Eight Nations of Innovation

Rick-Warren-TEDxOCWhen does innovation become innovative? In a recent review, I stumbled across Rick Warren’s, talk from TEDxOrangeCoast. With innovation and discovery asking the right question is more important than the answer. He’s compiled a list of 8 questions everyone should ask. He calls them his 8 Nations of Innovation:

  • Determination – What do I need to stop/change?
  • Collaboration – How do we do it together?
  • Combination – How can we combine opposites?
  • Elimitation – What can we remove?
  • Reincarnation – What died that we can bring back to life?
  • Rejuvenation – How can we change purposes or motivation?
  • Illumination – How can we look with new light?
  • Fascination – How can we make it more interesting?

Photo credit: blmiers2 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Number One Thing to Know about Social Prestige

ID-10084546What’s the first thing people do when they sit down in a meeting? Especially a meeting with people they don’t know — they size up the room. They look for clues as to who is the alpha male or alpha female.  We all intuitively try to figure out “Who’s in charge?” and “What is the pecking order?” This behavior is so ingrained in our DNA that we often don’t even realize we are judging social standing and prestige.

Merriam-Webster defines prestige as  the standing or estimation in the eyes of people : weight or credit in general opinion.  Sociologists provide further expand this definition to four dimensions. Social prestige is the sum total of  the respect, honor, recognition or courtesy that an individual receives from other members of society or the group to which they belong. For example dons, Mafia bosses are well respected within the Mafia but overall society considers them criminals, not worthy of social prestige.

So if you want prestige, understand the group and company in which you find yourself, and work to be at its center;  progress will be recognized through the respect, honor, recognition and the courtesy you receive.


Image courtesy of Mr. Lightman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Most Important Thing About Social Networking

17003_wpm_lowresLinkedIn, Facebook, Ning, Pinterist, MySpace, Google+, Meetup are just some of the most popular social networking sites. But, What is the most important thing to remember about Social Networking? Don’t over think the answer. Humans are social! To be social means we are connected. We cooperate to survive.  Even a baby enters this world as part of a family network – some large families others just a mother.

Social networking sites are just simply an extension of our humanity and ability to connect with others. We use them to connect; to communicate; to belong; to interact. The better our ability to connect, either in real life or the virtual social network the greater our social prestige. More on this in my next post.



Inescapable network of mutuality

MartinLutherKing_NPSGOVSocial networks inescapably impact our lives. Even those Luddites yet to sign in to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, are impacted. With events from the Arab Spring still unfolding, the global “we” are realizing what great leaders have always known.

[blockquote cite=”Martin Luther King ” citeLink=”http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html”]We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. Martin Luther King 1963[/blockquote]

As we enter the Connected Age, of people connected to machines connected to people, or – just simply – people connected to people, Dr. Kings words in a simple letter remain strong and profound. The global “we” are truly [highlight3]caught in an inescapable network. [/highlight3]  Next time you write a simple email, blog, or post a comment or  Youtube video – remember you have the power to affect your fellow man for good.


9341_wpm_lowresInnovation is elusive. We see only what we can see. The adage “I’ll believe it when I see it” illuminates our deep skepticism for the unknown and unseen. But as Marcel Proust wrote:

[blockquote align=”left” cite=”MARCEL PROUST, “The Captive,” Remembrance of Things Past”]The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust 1923[/blockquote]

Truly innovation is “in having new eyes.”  But have you ever shared a new concept or idea with your boss (or perhaps you’ve been the boss) where all the boss does is find something wrong. You can hear it now. “This won’t work… Why do you think that will work? Good effort. Now give me something that looks like what…” we did last time.

With eagle eyes they spot every flaw and mistake. They shoot down the idea before it even begins. They forget its a new idea; it’s not perfected. In those situations remind the boss to squint (or if you are the boss, just  squint – trust me it looks better)  –squinting makes things blurry, hazy and indistinct . You can kinda make it out.  But if you squint well, you can see the promise.You can see the important features. You can see the big picture.

Exercise your innovative muscle! Squint when you look. You might be seeing the next Facebook, and you missed it because you didn’t squint.

Creative design with vuja de

stockvault-leaves109588 copyAt Tom Kelley’s  recent talk, he gave us a preview of his upcoming book “Creative Design” – which should be done this fall. But as Tom said with tongue-in-cheek “Amazon promised it this fall, so I need to hurry up and finish.”  He went on to say, “With my last book I’ve learned that giving people 10 things about innovation is too many for people to remember.  So with the 700 pages in the new book I boiled it down to three:”

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  • Start with Empathy
    • Visit people, don’t just look at forms and reports.
    • Walk in their shoes.
  • Nurture a culture of experimentation
    • Executives must learn the art of squinting – look at new ideas ask if you were squinting – it isn’t perfect but if you squint it looks perfectly promising
    • Avoid deja vu (feeling like you heard or saw it before) but instead flip it around, and embrace  vuja de (a feeling you never heard or saw before) 
  • Build a learning organization
    • Find cross polinators
    • Seek young ideas and find a “reverse mentor”
    • Consider open innovation[/fancy_list]

Other Posts inspired by Tom Kelley’s talk at the Segerstrom Center:

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