Imagine A World Where – Ten Practices of Innovators

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Today I ran into a Mexican friend who took me on a tour of his dream come true. He had rented a street-front office for his travel/educational business. This was after he had lost his lease on an office of 15 years in a prime setting on the city square.

In the process of moving to his new location he discovered that there was a run-down mansion in the rear of the property. A dream sparked in his mind and he saw the possibility of a boutique hotel at that location. A year later, there it was in all its renovated glory with a steady flow of international guests.

We all develop mental images of what we want for ourselves. Some are based on fantasies that seem to die an early death. Other visions of the future or innovative ideas are serious intentions based on deep long-standing desires and stellar abilities. Here we need to be alert to signs from the universe (some call those coincidences) that call for bold action. We see solutions to challenges that no one has thought of or developed before that meet real world needs. 

An IT Director in a large tech company told me, “I want to create applications that make my customers wildly successful” When I met her several months later she was well on her way to realizing that dream. 

One thing that is true of all possibility thinking is that people don’t just jump in and support us. Recently a research scientist told me “At a meeting in our corporate headquarters last week they brought in a couple of the top scientists who talked about how they created new and astounding technologies. The amazing thing was that they did it in their spare time. Apparently these same scientists had asked their bosses if they could go ahead with their new ideas and they were told to focus on their present projects. So the work of innovation took place after hours.

We cannot wait for the majority in our world to give us the green light to follow our passion. Most go it alone or with the support of one or two close friends or associates. But it is more important that we cast a vote for ourselves.

Is your imagination stimulated to innovate or move in new directions in life? 

Here are the ten practices of innovators. They

  1. Created a compelling story (imagine a world where) that arose from their imagination.
  2. Invited influential stakeholders to be partners/sponsors in the venture. They told their story in a way that excited others. Visions are caught not taught.
  3. Persisted despite skepticism and opposition. They knew the difference between “Know when to quit” and, “Don’t give up too soon!”
  4. Broke or at least bent the rules by which others thought they should operate.
  5. Showed flexibility and a willingness to change course quickly if new circumstances demanded such an action.
  6. Allowed their mistakes to act as course corrections or learning trials.
  7. Estimated the risk accurately.
  8. Launched out on an “adventure of faith” before all the resources were available. One ancient writer described faith as “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen”.
  9. Remained very clear on the opportunities built into the vision of the future base on clear data.
  10. Used the toothbrush test (A term used at Google to determine the viability of a project or investment). This test answered the question “will people use it at least twice a day and will it have long-term usefulness?”

 Go ahead now and imagine, intend, and initiate

And observe how the universe conspires with you to make things happen

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About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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