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Posts Tagged ‘Tactics of Innovation’

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 »

Slumdog Inspired Innovation Talk

Posted by Plish on February 28, 2009


A recent discussion in the “Front End of Innovation” group over at LinkedIn was inspired by the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Mr. Amit Dharia, chimed in with some wonderful observations that I’d like to share with you.

The name “slumdog” was inspired from the phrase “underdog”.

True innovators prefer to be underdogs. Underdogs, stay below radar until ready to ambush to kill. Unlike “noise makers” they can stay in shadows for long and keep quiet. Both confidentiality and element of surprise is required.

The second feature of film is “focused opportuntinism” – whatever a path you have to take, be open minded and take it. Zigzag better than linear path. If a path needs to be changed, change it quickly.

The third feature is resourcefulness. Innovation needs not only creative mind and hopeful heart but also resourcefulness. Great innovations and great ideas need less money. Surprisingly, people who come to USA from underdeveloped countries do very well in IT and technologies where less resources are required. Lesser you have, mind works extra hard to fulfill the gaps.

The most important lesson is innovation cannot be born in structured environment. Innovation needs dramatically surprising and unconventional thinking.

Slumdog is also about pride with humility. Those of us who have seen slums of India, can bear witness to the fact that the heavenly hopes can only grow in human made hells. Wild flowers grow in jungles and not in well trimmed backyards.

 What do you think of Mr. Dharia’s observations?

Posted in culture of innovation, Disruptive Innovation, idea generation, innovation, Nature of Creativity, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Fencing, Tactics and Disruptive Innovation

Posted by Plish on January 25, 2009

Yours Truly Getting a "Touch" While Fencing

Your's Truly Getting a "Touch" While Fencing

“The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot.” — Mark Twain

I never like fencing against sword-wielding newbies.  True to Twain’s observation, they don’t know what they’re supposed to do, and worse, don’t know what they’re not supposed to do! 

Because I made tactical adjustments,  in general, I was able to beat them; but they would often frustrate me,  slash my knuckles or hit me in an unprotected area, and lead me to expend much more energy than I wanted to.  Their movements and unorthodox wielding of their weapon often resulted in touches that I would not experience if fencing with a more seasoned fencer.

In business, the smart innovators are tacticians- they’re either newbies or they’ve been able to forget what got them where they are.    They’re nimble and they come at you with the sword flashing!  To these truly belong, “disruptive innovation.”  These companies are made up of people who have a willingness to risk, to creatively improvise, to throw themselves passionately into battles they shouldn’t win…

Battles are won and fought one person at a time and all great innovation starts with creativity expressed and lived within the trenches. 

So the question is, are you, your team, your company, nimble enough to go toe-to-toe with those who dare you with their creative zeal?  Or are you planning your innovation strategy while the door to door battles for your business rages on?

Posted in Creativity Leadership, Disruptive Innovation, innovation, Tactics, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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