December 30, 2007
Seeing Innovation Clearly

perception_vase.gif

There's an old Indian adage that goes something like this: "When a pickpocket meets a saint, all he sees are pockets." Psychologists summarize this phenomenon in three words: "Motivation affects perception." In other words, if you're hungry when driving through a town, you'll notice the restaurants. If you're running out of gas, you'll notice the gas stations. If your mother is dying, you'll notice the funeral homes.

What is the meaning of this to you?

Simply this: If you are really serious about innovating in 2008, first you will need get clear about your motivation -- what's driving you. The clearer you are, the more your efforts will be free of the hidden agendas, assumptions, and filters that limit your ability to create what you SAY you want to create.

For example, if you think your real motivation is to create a breakthrough product, but what is really driving you is the need for short term profits, you won't have the kind of patience and perseverance required to aacomplish your goal.

Metaphorically speaking, if "innovation" is the "saint" you are seeking, you don't want to be approaching it like a pickpocket.

Next month, in this space, we'll be posting a poll to explore this phenomenon more deeply. We want to find out WHY people want to innovate. To jump start this effort, we invite you NOW to tell us why YOU want to innovate in 2008. What's in it for you? Why bother? What's the payoff?

Is it survival? Is it an attempt to keep pace with the competition? A way to enjoy your job more? A calling? Your strategy to get promoted? Something else? Simply click the "comments" link and let us know.

Which reminds me of that old Woody Allen joke: This guy goes into a psychiatrist's office and, in great distress, confesses that his brother thinks he's a chicken.

"Bring him in," the psychiatrist says.

"I can't," explains Woody.

"Why not," the psychiatrist asks.

"We need the eggs."

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at December 30, 2007 02:43 AM

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