innovation

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When you put a fence around people, you get sheeple

After moving from California to New Zealand at age 10, adapting to the culture and especially the education system was a tough process for me. I also had some teachers who cared little to help me with this process and instead opted to make an example of me in front of my new peers on the first day of school.

Not surprisingly, my initial rough start lead to poor grades. Instead of being encouraged to try harder I was labeled as a below average student. At age 10 and 11 the concept of fueling my own personal ambition was simply not in the cards. Within only the first few weeks of class at my new school my teachers expected me to flounder. Sure enough, that’s what I did — and worse, I thought nothing of it…

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Progress is a barbed arrow

Unless you were born into your ideal life (highly improbable), then we know that we must keep moving to improve our circumstances and quality-of-life. Most of us like to label this “moving” as progress. However, let’s be specific… because it matters a lot here. Moving is not progress unless we are moving in the right direction…

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Canabalize your ideas

It’s not wording that paints the best mental picture, I know (maybe the unassuming Pac-Man imagery will soften the edge), but it is a notion that ultimately leads to a better outcome. The idea for this post struck me while reading Walter Isaacson’s biography about Steve Jobs. The relationship he had with ideas — even his own, was uncommon. When he came up with an idea he was never afraid to start attacking it — even if the idea has costly short term implications. A well-known example was…

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Mavericks stir things up

Innovation is very rarely a smooth and predictable process. In fact, if it is, innovation is likely not taking place at the full pace possible.

No matter the industry or the goal, when it comes to discussing strategy most leaders and business owners intent to seek and/or create calm seas. I often hear people say many iterations of how they are, “waiting for the dust to settle.” Why? So you can linger around for everyone else to do the same and then move with the herd? That’s not how great ideas and outcomes are birthed.

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When you change the way you look at things…

What we see is not dependent on what is actually there to be seen — it’s entirely dependent is our perspective (Tweet this quote). This is why people can experience the same circumstances and have completely different observations and conclusions about what they experienced. Here is a short video documenting a very well-known example.

As much as we hate to admit it, our brains are easily fooled. Maybe this is why…

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One of the most dangerous beliefs…

Repeating behaviors, routines, assumptions, and processes is attractive because, well, it’s easy. But pressing the “repeat” each day is short-sighted. Eventually, our results taper off to a plateau (or decline), we overlook opportunities that can improve our life, and our creative muscles dystrophy.

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Always test the rope

When elephants are being trained to stay in one place at a very young age the trainers drive a stake deep in the ground and use a rope or chain that the elephant cannot break. After a few failed attempts to break free in the elephant’s youth, the elephant stops trying and never tests the rope again.

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People aren’t scalable. But ideas are.

It’s a natural goal to want to maximize resources. But sometimes pursuing “more” causes businesses and leaders to push ahead in the wrong places in the wrong ways. As much as we’d like to think people can continue to increase hours and maintain quality of output, it simply doesn’t work. As long as humans remain human there will be a point of diminishing returns.

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The innovator’s (shortest) credo

Making creative leaps forward often means challenging preexisting assumptions, rules, and beliefs about how things can and should be done. When we do this, however, we enter new territory and it becomes much more difficult to predict the outcome. There is likely not enough data to accurately foretell the odds of success.

This may sound risky, but consider the alternative: Convention/normal/average/regular… boring! Sure, it’s the most predictable option, BUT it’s not necessarily the safest…

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Think outside of the box

We’ve all heard it before: Think outside of the box. But sometimes it’s good to see a visual cue in our environment that reminds us to do this more frequently. That’s why I created this piece (and Maxims 4 Mavericks).

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