Businessman with illuminated light bulb concept for idea, innovation and inspiration

Innovation is about bringing together individuals with diverse strengths who can push against each other and build something collaboratively that they never would’ve come up with on their own. Innovation happens when there is constructive conflict, or positive tension, within an organization-not total agreement.

In my own work strategizing innovation practices for some of the worlds biggest and best companies, I use the Innovation Genome to find this place of positive tension. The Innovation Genome is a creative map of organizational dynamics that tells us how competing talents and seemingly opposing worldviews can come together to promote growth. While innovation is often thought of as the domain of exceptional individuals only The Innovation Genome shows how anyone can engineer innovation. (more…)

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What happens when the comfort of the old is preferable to the risk of the new? This is the situation all innovators face when presenting their ideas or inventions to a hesitant public: we’re dissatisfied with the way things are now, but we’re not yet willing to embrace the future.

Everywhere you look, you’ll see this wildly contradictory set of desires and feelings toward change. We hate traffic jams, but we refuse to try self-driving cars. We dream of improving the quality and length of our lives, but we’re reluctant to tamper with the genetic triggers of a disease. We want to eliminate global hunger, but we have a bias against genetically modified drought-resistant food. (more…)

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How do you build a bridge to a place that doesn’t yet exist? This is the paradoxical challenge that every innovator faces: to envision and reach for the future before it happens. This requires the gift of foresight-a skill that involves seeing emerging opportunities and taking action on those opportunities.

There are two ways that innovators navigate the unknown. The first is by seeing the future first and then constructing a bridge toward it. This is what Copernicus and Einstein did: they made game-changing observations and provided pathways for practitioners to make use of that knowledge. (more…)

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