There is a scene from Fiddler on the Roof that has taught me more about life than most holy books I've read.
In it, two men are heatedly arguing over the age of a horse. When they see Tevye, the town milkman/sage, walking by, they begin passionately pleading their case.
"Tevye!" blurts the first, "I've been cheated! Last month a bought a horse from this sorry excuse for a man. He told me the horse was six, but it was 12!"
Tevye listens carefully, strokes his beard, nods his head, and smiles. "You're right!" he says.
"What!" screams the second. "No way! Not true! The horse I sold him was six years old and I have the papers to prove it!"
Again, Tevye listens, strokes his beard, nods his head, and smiles. "You're right!" he says.
A third man, who'd been watching the argument from the beginning, boldly steps forward.
"Tevye... with all due respect for your great insight and wisdom, how can he be right" (pointing the the first) "and he be right" (pointing to the second).
Tevye listens, strokes his beard, nods his head, and smiles. "You're right!
Then he starts dancing like a madman.
Next time you think you're right... remember Tevye.
Business and innovation are FULL of paradox, contradiction, and seeming dissonance. See if you can dance your way through them without making anyone wrong. You'll enjoy the process more AND fabulous new things will manifest as a result. To life!
May 16, 2009
TED VIDEO: Seth Godin on Tribes
Lucid, entertaining, informative 17-minute video on the power of tribes -- the most ancient and organic way to get a message out to the world. Want to make a difference? Got something to say? Looking for a simple way to connect with those who want to go beyond the status quo? Listen to the bald-headed wonder, Seth Godin, introduce you to what's already happening...May 09, 2009
STICKY IDEA: Post-It Entertainment
If you can spell "innovation," you've probably heard the story about the origins of the post-it note -- how it was an accident in one of 3M's labs and how Art Frye and others saw a market for something that didn't quite stick all that well.
Relax. I'm not going to tell that story again.
What I AM going to do is call your attention to the next creative use of the omnipresent post-it -- a use you are unlikely to have considered yet: the post-it as pure entertainment.
When you're done viewing the 3:19 video, take a few minutes to conjure up some non-traditional uses of your company's best (or worst) selling product. If you don't work for a company, think of some new uses for whatever product or service you are offering the world these days.
As one wise pundit put it, "Discovery is seeing what everybody else has seen, and thinking what nobody else has thought."
(Thanks to my very creative, 14-year old son, Jesse, for turning me on to this video).May 08, 2009
Smoke Signals in Cyberspace
Hey innovation-seeking humanoids!
Back in my day, whenever we wanted to get the word out, it was dirt simple. Smoke signals was the name of the game. Or maybe a primal scream or two.
We didn't have no email, no YouTube, no Twitter, no FaceBook, no MySpace... or the ten thousand other things you modern day Technoids use in your endless effort to make sense of things.
And we certainly didn't have no PR Web Press Releases either, like the one Digital Diva Nettie Hartsock just forwarded to Mr. Finally-Got-Use-of-His-Opposable-Thumbs-Axiom-Award-Winner What's-His-Name today.May 05, 2009
Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child
Tonight, I came home from a meeting, and the image above was waiting for me in my inbox. Somehow, when I was gone, my 14-year old son figured out how to do this. (That's him). I will ask the wizard in the morning and let you know how he did it.
"The greatest invention in the world is the mind of a child." - Thomas Edison
"Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas." - Paula Poundstone
"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." - Pablo Picasso
EXERCISE: Today, present your biggest problem to a child and ask him/her for three possible solutions.May 03, 2009
Reboot yourself with this one
Think you're underpaid? Complaining about your boss, the economy, or the price of avocados? Read this juicy quote aloud, then see how you feel.
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
- George Bernard Shaw
OTHER QUOTES FROM GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
"Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."
"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."
"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
"The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and all time."May 01, 2009
"Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted, counts." (Einstein)
Some things we can measure. Some things we can't. And just because we can measure something doesn't make it more real or significant.
Einstein knew this. There was always the "X factor" for him -- mystery, the unknown, and the impossible to quantify.
That's why he used to conduct "thought experiments" in his lab -- times when he turned away from the blackboard with all those exotic formulas and simply daydreamed -- letting the intuitive side of him take over for a change.
Hmmm... what might YOU be attempting to quantify or measure that would best be left alone?
What might you be needing to TRUST that abides outside the boundaries of the rational, logical, analytical, scientific mind?