Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Innovation and convergence

The saying is: where your attention goes, energy flows and where energy flows, things grow. As an example, my mother did buy recently a Renault Clio and what I am continuously seeing in the traffic now are Renault Clio’s. There were there before, but I just didn’t pay any attention.

Now, my attention is attracted to ‘convergence’ and thus I am continuously see lots of articles about it. What does convergence actually mean? Here is a definition:

convergence |kənˈvərjəns|
the process or state of converging: the convergence of lines in the distance.
• Biology the tendency of unrelated animals and plants to evolve superficially similar characteristics under similar environmental conditions.
• (also convergence zone )a location where airflows or ocean currents meet, characteristically marked by upwelling (of air) or downwelling (of water).

The way I look at it is that it becomes clear to many more people that events (global warming; financial crisis; lack of trust in the government; unethical behavior in companies; mental illness; etc.) are no longer seen as separate, as distinct from each other. These events are connected and they influence each other, they converge.
Previously when there was such an event (or a huge problem), they would assign a specialist or a group of specialists to fix it. This perspective did work rather well in the industrial age, where the assembly line approach was extended to other area’s as well, like problem solving. Split the problem into some small parts, fix these small parts and the whole problem will be fixed. The people who are ‘in power’ are still applying this old age approach to the current information/human age. And then they are surprised that the problems can not be fixed in that style of dissecting.

One way to tackle these problems is:
  •        To see and accept that they are converging.
  •        To assign ‘generalists’ to the problem solving teams.
  •        To understand that we will not return to the way things were before.
  •        To be willing to look in the mirror and change your self!

Now, look at innovation, the continuous drive to improve, to renew and even disrupt yourself and your organization. In itself this proves to be quite challenging for organizations. They know that they have to do it, but they still see it as a side-activity, rather than at the heart of the operation. Added to this challenge is that fact that you can not innovate in isolation (any more), because everything is connected and converging. Therefor the same problem solving rules, as mentioned above, are applicable to innovation.

Are you willing and able to take a complete different holistic perspective and approach to problem solving as well as innovation?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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