Monday, July 16, 2012

Innovation as a Journey - Ask Where do we come from ? What are we ? Where are we going ?

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? is a painting by French artist Paul Gauguin (Image Sourece - Wikipedia)

I like the metaphor of a journey to describe innovation or innovative problem solving. The metaphor that you have in your mind for innovation will strongly influence your thinking and your approach. If you have a unique style of innovating, that arises from the unique metaphor that you use. I was introduced to the world of metaphors and how they influence our thinking and lives by the book "Metaphors that we live by".

If you are planning a journey, then the three most basic things that you would ask will be :

  • Where do we come from  - the starting point of the journey - Here
  • Where are we going - the ultimate destination - There
  • What are we - constrained or limited by 
  • What are we - expected to do to go from here to there

In the context of Innovative Problem Solving, the equivalent questions would be

  • We need to understand the current state (A) clearly. 
  • Visualize the ideal state (B) we would like to be in. 
  • Ask ourselves what is holding us to A - why we are not already there at B.
  • Then figure out how to overcome the constraints and go from A to B.

On a lighter note,

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