NOT FINDING WHAT YOU'RE DIGGING FOR? Move the Hole!
I like what Edward deBono once said about the phenomenon of creative people trying to get results, but coming up empty (and I paraphrase). "If you are digging for oil and don't find any, move the hole!"
Pretty simple, eh? Sometimes, it seems as if aspiring innovators get fixated on a particular approach and, no matter what happens (or doesn't), they just keep doing the same old thing over and over again even when experience reveals that their approach is not working.
Of course, it's always possible that other factors are at play:
1. Perhaps the hole you've dug is too shallow and success is only a few shovelfuls away. Digger deeper, then, makes sense. Always possible.
2. Maybe you're digging in the right place, but the tools you're digging with are not the right tools for the job.
3. And, of course, it's always possible that in your effort to discover oil, you don't see the unexpected diamonds and gold coins you stumble upon because everything that is "not oil" is invisible to you.
So, let's make this real for a moment. Think of a project you are working on -- one you have passion for whose results have been slower to materialize than you hoped. Got it? Good. Now answer the following before doing any more digging:
CAN YOU DIG THIS?
1. What are your instincts telling you about how to proceed? Have you dug the hole deep enough? Might it be time for you to move the hole? And if it is the time to move the hole, where might you move it? What are some new approaches to try? Other places to look?
2. If you sense that you haven't dug deep enough -- that you've been a dilettante, slacker, or half-hearted digger for oil -- what can you do to martial your forces and commit to a more rigorous digging effort? And what support, if any, might you need?
3. If, in your digging adventures, you have stumbled upon some unexpected "finds", but dismissed them because you were only focused on oil, how might you extract the value from your accidental discoveries?
By the way, 75% of all product breakthroughs are NOT the result of strategic plans or "intentional effort", but the result of serendipity and "happy accidents" -- what happens when the open-minded innovator "stumbles" on something intriguing, pauses, and makes the right kind of effort to see if this discovery has value and is worth pursuing.March 10, 2017
Making the Time to Be Creative
One of the biggest obstacles to creativity and, by extension, innovation, is the lack of time that is so prevalent in today's ADD culture. This two-minute video makes a very compelling case for you and all the people you work with to take some more time if you REALLY want to crank up the creativity.December 05, 2016
We Were Made for These Times!
What follows is an extraordinary call of the heart by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Not only is it worth reading, it's worth reading aloud -- so you hear it and feel it as well as see it. Then, you get to decide who you want to share it with -- and how. This is a piece of deep, soul-inspired, primal writing that deserves to travel to every corner of the Earth.
"My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.
I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.
In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn't you say you were a believer? Didn't you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn't you ask for grace? Don't you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater?
Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.
There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."
Clarissa Pinkola Estes: American poet, post-trauma specialist, Jungian psychoanalyst, and author of Women Who Run With the Wolves.
I Am Not a Handyman
Are you a man -- or know a man who is, shall we say, "handyman challenged"? If so, then this newly published Huffington Post article of mine, is for you. Three minutes worth of comic relief. If you like it, please LIKE it and forward the link to your friends. Let's go viral!
90 other HuffPost articles of mine
My day job
Storytelling at Work
What's the Key to Your Success?
Bring your most passionate project to mind -- the ONE THING you are excited about manifesting. Maybe it's just sitting there like a lump. Or maybe you are making progress every day. Whatever it is, take a look at the list below and CHOOSE the one quality you need more of in order to succeed. Once you've decided, consult our online GENIE. He can help. All you need is about 10 minutes. No charge.
10. Getting buy in
15. Letting go
17. Social media
PS: If what you need is not on the list above, it will be on THIS LIST.The Crowdsourced Birth of a New Book Beyond Business Innovation
Greetings! It's me, Mitch Ditkoff, author of this blog, President of Idea Champions, writer, speaker, husband, father, and dust particle. If you've been enjoying this blog, there is a good chance you will enjoy my forthcoming book. Towards that end, I have just launched a GoFundMe campaign and am inviting you to participate. We're talking crowd-sourced funding -- a way for me to buy the time and resources I need to write, produce, publish, and promote the book before hell freezes over. Hope you can be part of it! It takes a village... and a few village idiots!July 17, 2015
A Creative Tip from Einstein
February 17, 2015
On Being an Idea Champion
There's a reason why the expression "ideas are a dime a dozen" is so popular. Because they are. It's easy to get ideas. What's not so easy is championing ideas. And by "championing", I am referring to the kind of heroic commitment required to actually manifest those ideas. Here's my six-minute video elaboration on this often neglected topic. It's great that you have a new idea you care about. Wonderful. Now, ask yourself "What is it going to take for me to press through all the inevitable obstacles and bring this idea to life?"February 09, 2015
Innovation as a Happy Accident
A little known fact about innovation is that many breakthroughs have not been the result of genius, but "happy accidents" -- those surprise moments when an answer revealed itself for no particular reason.
The discovery of penicillin, for example, was the result of Alexander Fleming noting the formation of mold on the side of petri dish left uncleaned overnight.
Vulcanized Rubber was discovered in 1839 when Charles Goodyear accidentally dropped a lump of the polymer substance he was experimenting with onto his wife's cook stove.
More recently, 3M's post-it was also the result of an accident in the lab. Breakthroughs aren't always about invention, but the intervention required, by the aspiring innovator, to notice something new, unexpected, and intriguing.
LEARN FROM YOUR HAPPY ACCIDENTS:
1. Think about a recent project, pilot, or business of yours that did not turn out the way you expected.
2. Ask yourself if any of the unexpected results offer you a clue or insight about how you might proceed differently.
3. Instead of interpreting your results as "failure," consider the fact that the results are simply nature's way of getting you to see something new -- something that merits further exploration.October 21, 2014
What Does This Picture Mean to You? September 13, 2014
JUST RELEASED -- Citizens of the Earth
Here's a powerful, 2-minute video, that supports the message of the International Day of Peace. If you would like to encourage your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and customers to pause for a moment and reflect on the need for peace, this is a good link to send them.March 29, 2014
That Big Beautiful Idea of Yours
What big, beautiful idea of yours needs just the right touch of collaboration, support, and immersion to see the light of day? Your next step? And when will you take it?May 23, 2013
Our Top 10 Huffington Post Articles
You may not know this, but our semi-fearless leader and Co-Founder of Idea Champions, Mitch Ditkoff, is now blogging for the Huffington Post on a variety of topics. Below is a sampling. If you like what you read, FAN him so you can receive email alerts whenever a new article of his is published.March 02, 2013
The Gift of an Ordinary Day
I dedicate today's blog post to all Heart of Innovation readers who have grown children... or teenagers... or small children... or have ever been a child. Feel free to cry.