ZenStorming

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Archive for June, 2013

5 Insights Into Innovation From the Coyote

Posted by Plish on June 30, 2013

Graphic Courtesy of Nature.com (Click on it to read article on Coyotes)

Graphic Courtesy of Nature.com (Click on it to read article on Coyotes)

Every once in a while when I’m out jogging, I’ll come across a coyote. They look at me, turn, and go in the other direction – disappearing into a thicket along the trail.  I also hear them yipping with pups, or I hear local packs of coyotes join in with choruses of their own when a distant ambulance siren pierces the night.  Yet most people don’t see coyotes all that often.

But just because most people don’t see coyotes doesn’t mean they’re not around.  On the contrary, coyotes are, quite literally, everywhere.  In fact, coyotes, in spite of their habitats being modified, and open hunting seasons, are one of the few animals that has actually increased the extent of its domain over time.

Think of it.  They are competing for food and land under intense pressure and thriving!

So, what are the main reasons for this, and what can we learn from the wily Coyote? (The word itself is an Aztec derivative of the word meaning ‘Trickster.”)

1. Coyotes adjust their diet based upon what’s available.  When they find certain types of food getting scarce, they’re willing to go after other types of food.   How willing are most companies to venture out of the comfort space and adjust how they ‘feed’ themselves? What new channels do you utilize?

2. As coyotes spread Northeast, they mated with wolves, or more properly, allowed themselves to breed with wolves, who were in the decline due to hunting.  This resulted in bigger coyotes that could take on bigger prey. Now there is evidence that they’re breeding with domestic dogs – the results of which are unknown because this is still an experiment in the making.  Is your organization willing to intimately partner with others to create even more powerful ‘offspring’?

3. Coyotes breed quickly.  Compared to other predatory canines, coyotes reproduce more quickly.  This enables them to stay ahead of the game, even under predatory pressure and open hunting.  Is your organization reproducing itself, creating multiple channels to have a better chance at survival?  (Google is especially good at this.)

4. Coyotes are relentless in forcing others to play by their rules.  Where coyotes are taking advantage of clear-cut forests to prey on the young of an endangered caribou species, the only way to save the caribou right now, is to stop clear cutting the forest.  Is your company taking advantage of  market dynamics so effectively that you’re forcing the game to change?

5.  Coyotes constantly push the edges of their boundaries.  They look for opportunities to expand their domains. How effectively are you probing the edge of what you don’t know? 

Larry Ellis, in his essay, “Trickster: Shaman of the Liminal” perhaps summarizes innovation best when speaking of the Trickster genre (Replace the references to ‘Trickster’ with the word ‘Innovation’):”Trickster creates through destruction and succeeds through failure; his mythic and cultural achievements are seldom intentional. “Defining such a various creature,” writes Jarold Ramsey, “is a little like trying to juggle hummingbirds””

Yes, innovation can be like trying to juggle hummingbirds.  But, with these 5 insights into the method behind the coyote’s madness, the juggling becomes much more manageable and the results, intentional.

Posted in Best Practices, creativity, culture of innovation, Disruptive Innovation, Evolution, innovation, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to be Interesting (and Innovative, and Creative, and…) – A Book Review

Posted by Plish on June 10, 2013

Howtobeinteresting

 

What really struck me about, Jessica Hagy’s, “How to be Interesting (in 10 Simple Steps)“, was both its simplicity and profundity.

Through the use of her trademark simple, ‘index card’ sketches, and wonderfully succinct text, Ms. Hagy shows the reader what it takes to become an interesting person. What I found particularly wonderful was that you can replace the word, “Interesting” in the title with, “Innovative”, “Creative”, “Designful” or any other type of change agent type term and the book would still be apropos.

Therein lies the profundity of the book.

One could be tempted to simply quick flip through the book – after all, it’s just pictures, right?

Wrong.  Just because I said the book was ‘Simple’ does mean it’s ‘easy’, per se.  I purposely took my time with this little gem.  It deserves the 3 R’s: Reading, Reflection, Re-Reading.  That process of reflecting takes effort and if someone really wants to grow, it’s never going to be easy.

Being interesting, an innovator, a designer, a change agent – all those require stretching the self.  This book is a great reminder of that.

If you want to be more, create more, experience more,  share more, make-the-world-a-better-place-more, this book is for you.

Enjoy!

 

PS When you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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Posted in Authenticity, Books, creativity, Design, Experience, innovation, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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