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Posts Tagged ‘human authenticity’

Innovation Can Change the World When Spelled: L-O-V-E

Posted by Plish on December 21, 2011

Products and services have to obey the laws of nature.  Some laws, like Newton’s Laws, can not be avoided.   Ignore them at your own risk.

Then there are those Laws that aren’t physical, but are no less real.  These are laws that deal with how people behave. They are embedded in who we are by nature, and/or are continually being transformed and modified through cultures and relationships between people and the Cosmos.   These laws are more elusive and difficult to characterize.  They are being observed, and deciphered, by psychologists, ethnographers, behavioral economists, poets and others.

One of these, is the Law of Love.

…the Law of Love is the deepest law of our nature, not something extraneous and alien to our nature. Our nature itself inclines us to love, and to love freely.  -Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

If, as Merton says, this law is the deepest law in our nature, shouldn’t it be the most prevalent law guiding our innovation efforts?

Yet, how often do we see design briefs, or product specifications stating, “Must incorporate Love.”?

Oh sure, it’s often inferred.  After all, we don’t want to hurt anyone, right?  We don’t want to pollute the world, right?

But still, there are people who use Chinese sweatshops to create magical products. There are people who create novel materials at the expense of effluents that taint the environment.

Love of others shouldn’t be inferred.  It should be active and visible in innovations.

During this holiday season, the word, “love”, gets used prolifically.  But, why can’t Love guide what we do, all the time?  What if we asked, “What would this product look like if I loved the person it’s being made for, and the place where she lives and the people making it and the places they live?”

In this day and age, innovation with L.O.V.E. shouldn’t be optional.

If it’s part of our nature, it should be imperative.


Posted in Authenticity, culture of innovation, Human Rights, innovation, love, problem solving, Social Innovation, Social Responsibility, Sustainable Technology, The Future, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

That’s YOUR Chunk of Open Office Space, This is MINE…

Posted by Plish on September 16, 2011

In the past I wrote about the health impact of open plan office spaces and their impact on creativity

Now it appears that open office spaces, intended to foster interaction, instead foster territorial behaviours that undermine collaboration.

 Professor of Strategic Management, Stephen Cummings, who led the study said,

“The intent of taking away dividing walls and doors is usually to improve creativity and performance by fostering spontaneous fun, interaction and sharing…However, we found evidence that it can lead to attempts by employees to re-create spatial and social structures and boundaries, actually undermining the behaviours an organisation is trying to encourage.

…most teams marked out their territory with posters, slogans and personal items, even moving furniture to create their own personalised space, which seemed to put other teams off moving into that space.  Employees also tended to use the activity rooms in their established team groups at separate times rather than mingling with other teams.”

He also mentioned that people felt that they lacked privacy and hence they had to be more rigid in their behaviours and hence less innovative.

So what to do?  Well the obvious step is to create a mix of open and private space, understand what your people are like, and build an environment that plays to individual strengths, needs and personalities.  “One size fits all,” isn’t the way to an innovative culture.




Posted in Architectural Design, Authenticity, Behavioral Science, Case Studies, creativity, culture of innovation, Health Concerns, innovation, Nature of Creativity, Team-Building, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

True, Sustainable Design = Revealing Beauty

Posted by Plish on March 14, 2011

Beauty is not caused it is – Emily Dickinson

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. -Michelangelo

What if we all acted as if Beauty is?

What if we lived our lives seeking out Beauty in the others, in the world, in our selves – chiseling through the chaos, peeling away the layers and revealing the Beauty that is? 

Isn’t that Design?

A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it. – Michelangelo

Posted in Authenticity, Design, innovation, love, nature, Social Innovation, Sustainability, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Want to be Creative? Embrace the Contradictions Within

Posted by Plish on March 10, 2011

Want to know the traits of a creative personality?  Check out this article  by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

He summarizes, “If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an “individual,” each of them is a “multitude.””

In essence, creative people are more than the sum of their parts. 

The truth of the matter is that we all are greater than the sum!

But, to be more than the sum, we have to sum the parts in the first place.  Therein lies the challenge.  One person may say, “I’m too focused to be innovative, I have to be.  I’m an accountant!” That same person then comes home and savors the various nuances in her wine collection. 

Wine.  Each type (Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, etc.) follows certain rules.  Diverge from the rules and a Merlot can’t be called a Merlot.  Yet, no two Merlots are alike.  No two vineyards follow the same processes.  In fact, some wineries are quite innovative in how they process grapes, how they bottle, etc.

Wineries, like accountants, could simply say, “We need to be conservative!  People have been making wines for millenia, and our customers expect stability!” 


People expect and want authenticity.  Sure there are rules accountants need to follow.  But if wineries can innovate, so can accountants. 

Practically speaking, this means that our accountant friend needs to break down the wall that separates her work desk from the vineyard.    To be more than the sum of her parts, she needs to say, “I can be innovative and creative, because I’m more than an accountant, I’m a sommelier!”

The good news is that when we embrace who we are in all our varied facets,  when we break down the walls, we become more than the sum of our parts because we  become whole people, and the various aspects  inter-relate and inform each other. 

The result is that we are  empowered and enabled to be more creative,  more fulfilled, more authentic human beings.

What about corporate cultures,  how can they support this? Some great info here, but the bottom line? 

Let people be whole; in fact, encourage it.  Your business depends on it.

Posted in Authenticity, cognitive studies, creativity, culture of innovation, imagination, innovation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Renaissance Souls, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Solving Problems and the Benefits of FUN!

Posted by Plish on January 26, 2011

FUN!  is something that all animals, to some extent engage in. 

Humans have the ability to design it.

Volkswagen has recognized the innate value of fun and developed this great website.  It’s dedicated to the premise that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better.”   

But, FUN! does more than change behavior. 

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” -Thomas A. Edison

Work = 1/(FUN!) where FUN!=Passion x Freedom. 

To increase the level of FUN! and decrease the perception of work, find ways of increasing passion and/or freedom. Make sure people are playing to their strengths, and give them the responsiblity to make things happen; responsibility to make decisions.

Do this and the FUN! level will increase, the perception of work will decrease and the results will be amazing.


Posted in Authenticity, creativity, culture of innovation, innovation, Play, problem solving, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Transformative, Sustainable Design Starts With An Embrace

Posted by Plish on October 18, 2010

For the majority of a 24 hour day, we take in sensory information, process and ignore it as we go about our daily routines.  We do our jobs and interact with people, objects and systems,  only really paying attention when something:

A) Causes us problems or pain

B) Brings us delight, joy, peace or any such feeling of wellness.

Everything else falls into the realm of being grey, background noise.  

That’s not necessarily bad. There’s something positive to be said for that which inhabits the grey.

Which is:

We don’t notice things in the grey because things function as they are expected to.   And, when things function like they’re supposed to, we can accomplish tasks and live our lives in relative peace and security.

But, what is that grey???

It’s comprised of people and relationships between people, nature, objects, rules, systems and constraints.    People who love  and experience joy, anger,  pain; who reflect on things of nature and things super/supra-natural.  All of us together interact to make the grey stable, predictable and livable.

What does this mean for design and innovation?  How do we innovate in the grey? How do we impact the grey and create moments in which people are elevated out of the grey – preferably into moments of delight as opposed to the depths of frustration and anger?

In some ways this seems like it should be simple – after all, we are all a part of this.  However, being a part of this makes it that much more difficult because the temptation is to contribute to the system in non-obtrusive ways, to not make waves, to not make our own lives difficult but yet do our jobs, to play our parts.

However, if  we dare to descend into the depths of who we are, to understand our nature, our fears, our  frustrations, our desires and dreams; if in this uncomfortable place we are able to embrace the messiness of our lives, it is then that  we are able to embrace others, embrace the world, embrace all.

It is in this embrace that understanding shines, innovation blooms in the light, and dare I say, love empowers us to design for the good, to design beauty, to give people experiences of  joy and happiness amidst the grey.

And it is in this milieu that design and innovations sustainably transform the grey to light, all the while elevating the awareness of what is possible – of what we are called to be, on this planet called Earth. 

Once we taste this sweetness, we will not, nor should we, ever settle for  less…

Posted in Authenticity, culture of innovation, Design, innovation, love, meditation, nature, Philosophy, prayer, Social Responsibility, Society, Spirituality, The Human Person, The Senses | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

13 Rules for Being a More Innovative, Creative, You

Posted by Plish on July 31, 2010

On this, my 47th birthday, as others lavish gifts upon me in their kindness, I’m writing this column as my gift to you.   Want to be more innovative?  Want to be more creative? Want to be a better you?  I pondered these questions; I’ve thought about what’s worked in my life, and what hasn’t.  So far, here’s a list of what works:

  1. Be passionate about what you do.  Ultimately it’s you that motivates you.
  2. Be authentic.  Kind of like #1 but it’s about acknowledging who you are in all your various facets and embracing you.  You are your brand. Rock the world with it.
  3. Don’t let others bring you down.  I don’t care if it’s your boss or the president or a family member.  Rise above – you’re the best you.  You made a mistake? So what.  (See Rules #7, #8, #11, #12)
  4. Get plenty of sleep.  Seriously. It will help in synthesizing ideas.  Also,  when you sleep you…
  5. Dream.  Do it while you’re awake.
  6. Take time off from your work.  Hike, pray, meditate, play.  Get some of the benefits of sleep but you’re conscious.
  7. Be curious. It might drive people nuts, but then you’re living according to Rule #3, right?
  8. Don’t be afraid to look like an ass.  This might seem like #3 but it’s not.  This is about doing things that you think others are looking at you funny about.  It’s got nothing to do about what others have said or done.
  9. Have empathy for others.  Tolerance is the easy way out.   Empathy.
  10. Revel in your successes!  Don’t look ahead to the next challenge without appreciating what you’re doing, and have done, to get to the now.
  11. Don’t be afraid to try things and make mistakes.   It’ s important because we not only learn from successes we…
  12. Learn from mistakes. 
  13. Love=Service

Are there any that you would add?

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Design, imagination, innovation, love, meditation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, Renaissance Souls, Spirituality, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Can an iPad Cripple Innovation and Creativity?

Posted by Plish on June 30, 2010

Came across this provocative piece at Harvard Business Review .

The author, Peter Bregman, returned his iPad because he found himself filling up his time with ‘stuff’ via the iPad as opposed to taking advantage of the ‘downtime’ that we all experience.  Bregman calls this downtime boredom, but in essence it’s the time when we’re not focusing on particular problems- that valuable time when the brain is able to make connections and build insights. It’s that time before falling asleep, the time in the shower, the time during or after a workout.

His point is well taken even if his solution to being an iPadoholic was slightly radical. 

We need to take time to relax – to disconnect, to experience the feeling of being and not necessarily doing, as Bregman poignantly points out at the end of his article:

“We have a new ritual now, and it really has become my favorite part of the day. I put (my 8 year old daughter) to bed 15 minutes earlier than before. She crawls into bed and, instead of shushing her, I lie next to her and we just talk. She talks about things that happened that day, things she’s worried about, things she’s curious or thinking about. I listen and ask her questions. We laugh together. And our minds just wander.”

‘Doing’ as part of the ”cloud’ 24/7 isn’t always a good thing.  Great ideas and innovation have their origins in those times when we pleasantly have our feet on the ground and are simply being.

Posted in Authenticity, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Nature of Creativity, problem solving, The Human Person, The Senses, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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