It seems fitting in light of the previous few weeks of turmoil in our financial world, that we, as co-authors of this blog, share our perspective on how we all can still Innovate with Meaning during these volatile times.
Many of us seek order and control over our world. We want proven answers. We want reliable forecasts. We want stability. We try so hard to keep things in what we believe is the “equilibrium,” despite knowing that the world is constantly changing around us, despite knowing that yesterday’s answers will not solve today’s problems, despite knowing that “equilibrium” is an illusion we have created to give ourselves a sense of security. Indeed, there is a saying, "If you want things to stay the same, then something is going to have to change!" How many of us ask for creative solutions but, at the same time, find ourselves reinforcing the acceptable “way of doing things in our industry?!” More often than not, we take two steps off the equilibrium platform to seek creative answers, but then rush back to our safety zones.
Innovation, by its very nature, involves deviating from the tried and true “way of doing things” and forging new pathways. It, therefore, involves the tension between the push to find new, innovative answers and the pull back to what we accept as the “right way.” Indeed, the cartoonist, Chuck Jones, creator of the creative genius, Wile E. Coyote, has observed that "anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity."
Against the complex backdrop of today’s marketplace, we still need to forge forward into new territory and not just focus on reductionary cost cutting. It is during these times, more than ever, that our commitment to meaningful values and goals comes into sharp focus. We need to focus on “what really matters” to our customers, our companies, and our employees, shedding the excess, frivolous activities and really getting in touch with what really matters-–what true value we can offer our entire community of stakeholders. Identifying this true meaning is hard work. But we have all had a wake up call this month–let’s not ignore it! The time for Innovating with Meaning is here and now!