I have talked about this topic before but in light of the passing of one our greatest innovators, Steve Jobs of Apple, I thought I would resurface the topic. This is what he once said about innovation:
“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you!” Steve Jobs
It is quite paradoxical that we have so many explicit and implicit business and life processes (social norms) that are inherently and powerfully designed to maintain the status quo and resist both death or change.
I have often told clients in coaching sessions that behavior is one of the hardest things to change both in ourselves and in others… unless there is a traumatic event or a severely burning platform. In fact, the hardest time to change is when things are going well, yet that is often the best time to reinvent and change.
This is arguably what Steve Jobs did so well. What was the reason to invent the iPad when the iPod and iPhone (and other devices) had already propelled Apple to be the most valuable company in the world? I watched his presentation unveiling the iPad last week and realized that Apple literally invented a market that neither the competition nor the consumer knew existed… this in-between device between a laptop and a smart phone.
You see, to be innovative requires a deep sense of curiosity of the human condition. This awareness is borne of a healthy discomfort of where you are presently… and this is the paradox as we inexplicably try to make the present as comfortable and repetitive as possible.
This week – curiously look around your office or home. Find one thing about it that you think will improve how things happen. If you’re brave enough – ask everyone to do the same!