Driving Innovation. Going Beyond Iterate Mind.

Fueled by a post entitled “What Drives Prosperity” by Greg Satell in his DigitalTonto blog I began to think again about one of my most favorite topics; innovation, what it is, how it happens and what drives it.

At the end of his post Satell states;

“. . . “what is probably the most important insight about innovation: it requires a certain uselessness. Big breakthroughs don’t happen along a linear path, but are the product of synthesis. They happen when people of unlike minds and goals share an idea space.”

Greg’s right. Innovation requires a certain uselessness. As does it require a certain thoughlessness. Processlessness. And Purposelessness.

Innovation and Evaluation

While we have a solid sense of the vertical integration needed to bring about innovation our horizontal and more individualistic and interior sense of what is needed to bring creativity about is less clear.

Idea creation requires inspiration. It is the result of an known or unknown intuitive process design process. It’s similar in many ways organizationally to but not exactly like a horizontal disciplined and highly organized iterative methodology.

The practice of meditation is but one example of this similarity. Rightly understood and practiced it is clearly a highly structured process that has an impact result that stimulates innovation.

Two Patriarchs

Meditation for example as a structure for timulationg innovation requires a defined coordination of collected activities to succeed. It must embody a disciplined and sophisticated internal intlligence of organization, of process design and of awareness to achive the desired state. To stimulate the intuitive and cognitive areas within the brain, flow must be manipulted (yes I did say manipulated) and redirected against the downward influencial force of gravity and sent up the spine and into the forntal parts of the brain.


While inspired creativity can be both summonded and brought under our command due to disciplined internal understandings of process, organization and practice – innovation cannot though occur via iterate mind alone. Or for that matter mind alone.

Inspiration is beyond mind.

I’m reminded of the classic zen story of the Master pouring tea for his disciple. The monk came seeking enlightenment. The Master attempting to make his point of waht was need to achieve that delicate state, continued pouring tea into the disciple’s tea cup far after it overflowed and poured onto the floor. Upon the monk’s confusion, the Master replied, “You must emply your mind before I can enlighten it.

some of that teaIterate mind thinks process, procedure, repetition, sequence, yield results, and scale as a means to achieve a cost effective mass produced result.

The art of innovation though is not as easily manufactured or replicated as say keyboards, houses, circuit boards, cars or consumer products.

An Innovation Competence Process Coming From K...

An Innovation Competence Process Coming From Knowledge Management (Photo credit: Alex Osterwalder)

An Innovation Competence Process Coming From Knowledge Management (Photo credit: Alex Osterwalder)

Conceptual innovation is most often beyond thought. Beyond noise. Aha’s are born in silence. Its a pre-condition. Any look at creativity patterns accross inventors and inventions through history will bear this out.

While innovation requires a process to achieve it – it is not the end result of that alone. That’s the creative mystery. Innovation can occur from and out of a state beyond mind. As a result, not neccessarily a predictable cause.

It’s quality of beyond mindness is why it’s referred to a uselessness.

Innovation is more in this sense, random. Until we learn to bring it under our control.

John Hagel author of The Power of The Pull, states in his comment on Greg’s same post;

” . . . in a time of more rapid change and increasing uncertainty, serendipity become even more important . . . “we have far more ability to shape serendipity – to increase the quality and the quanity of valuable unexpected encounters – than most of us realize.”

It’s this “aha”, “magic”, “kismet”, “mojo” that powers innovation.

Applying iterative mind in an attempt to control it only prevents it. Stimulating it at will requires laying iterative mind aside, rendering ourselves “useless” and befriending the our inner vice and our process and then communicating and cooperating with along it.

Iterative mind creates solutions but it is all to often analytically and problem focused. A problem focused process cannot be directly apllied to the creative process.  A solution focused state beyond rational mind, can.

The point here is to understand innovation; what it is, how it happens and what drives it.

The challenge for each of us is learn how it happens not only externally and horizontally across systems, methods and processess but equally to see it also internally and vertically and how to bring it about inside us across our own intelligent boldily organization – more often when we need it.

Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d'Albert E...Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit:Wikipedia)

Albert Einstein knew that when he said so elequently, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Just another pov. no <, no > !

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10,000 + people coached worldwide. 25 + years executive leadership across Media, Marketing, Advertising, Ad Networks, Branding. Management Consultant. Executive Coach. People. Process. Profit From secluded Monk to corporate towered Ad Network President/COO. Former Sales and Marketing VP. Limoncello Producer. Seen Beatles. Knows Walrus was John.

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