We hope. During occasional moments in my 10+ year yoga practice, I’ve contemplated quitting. The physical machinations don't seem worth the delayed, amorphous results. A client recently commented “I was hoping that the document you sent would have that one big, game changing idea. It didn’t.” The nature of innovation is misunderstood. I’m eager for substantial, meaningful breakthroughs, yet have learned how much hard, slogging work is required to create the conditions for them to occur.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Filtering by Tag: Innovation
On Tuesday, New York became the first city to place temporary restrictions on apps like Uber and Lyft, citing the need to further study their impacts on wages and traffic congestion and develop regulations accordingly. The rapid and transformative rise of these apps has raised broader questions about the costs and benefits of innovation, and the public sector’s role in managing them.
Body in Flight III: The Impossible Project
My mother set the example. “Guess what I did today?” she asked during an unexpected phone call one evening a few years ago, before announcing her impromptu skydiving feat. Whether scuba diving, downhill skiing, travel to remote locations, or falling from an airplane, my fearless mother has been the family’s chief adventure officer. I probably wouldn’t have jumped myself without her example.
Reporting from this week's Auto Show China, a new Wired article highlighted the “shockingly normal” design of BMW’s new electric SUV. Automakers’ increasingly ordinarily-looking electric vehicles seem to indicate that they are becoming a part of the mainstream, a promising sign for more widespread adoption.
I forgot my computer. Today’s Forecast is being written by hand. Very few of these weekly missives have been drafted on anything but a keyboard and screen. Identifying viable alternatives requires space and perspective. Walking to the studio early this morning, I realized I didn’t want to go all the way there just to get my computer. I began to consider the options, including using the pen and notebook that I did have with me.
The Rewards of Listening
Don’t look down. The impulse has become innate; no reminders required. Working for a small innovation studio in an emerging field, risk and uncertainty are constants. They have become familiar friends whom I’m not sure I really like anymore. What was their initial allure? I would ask them to leave if their mystery weren’t so compelling. If I let them stay a little bit longer, they will perhaps, finally, surface their secrets.
Part 2: Innovation Imperatives
Last November I distributed the first installment in this series. Creating meaningful innovation and change requires a multitude of factors, many of which are often overlooked.
Certain phrases make me cringe. For example: “now more than ever,” and “the world’s most pressing challenges,” invoke instant consternation. They are, of course, almost always hyperbole. Accurate language and perception is important to the social and environmental innovation work to which I’m committed. A portion of the challenge is to see the context and barriers clearly. A lack of urgency is often exactly what we strive to address!
The pursuit of positive change requires imagining possibilities that seem unthinkable in the present. When current constraints seem overwhelming, I try to remember that medical breakthroughs like the world’s first human heart transplant, accomplished in 1967, likely seemed the stuff of science fiction only decades prior.
Each click satisfied. When I was about 8, one of my prized possessions was my Dymo label maker. You rotated the dial from letter to letter, squeezed the handle, and it spit out a raised-letter plastic strip that could be affixed to anything. As a kid, this activity gave me some sense of agency when I felt I had little. The world seemed imbued with knowledge that was constantly shifting and outside my reach, but not others'. I was determined to learn how things worked, and still am. Labeling things helped create a sense of order and stasis, however temporary.
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published on November 24, 1859, launched the field of evolutionary biology. More than just a piece of scientific literature, its ideas arguably changed the course of history, as eloquently captured in this Scientific American piece.
8 Years: Part II
Every tone provides possibilities. There are two kinds of classical musician: those that are placated by well-constructed performances, and those that are never satisfied, but rather are constantly exploring, seeking the potential depth of the experience. Bottomless curiosity is a genetic disposition. I appreciated a recent piano recital because it never sounded complete. The journey was dynamic, not a static fixed plan and, as such, imbued with intelligence and life.