Situations that call for innovations

Some situations call for productivity. We can keep things simple and do what needs to be done. There's no need to ask troubling questions or second guess our every move. We can rely on what's worked in the past and do what's been done before. If anybody asks, we can tell them to "mind their own business" while we mind our own. What's on their minds is none of our business. We've got a job to get done and that's that!

Other situations call for innovations. We've got to make things more complicated before we can get any more accomplished. We need to ask troubling questions about our past conduct, effects on situations and underlying premises that alter our perceptions. We cannot rely on whatever worked in the past because there is a bend in the road ahead, a change in the context or differences to be addressed since last time. If anybody asks, we need to dialogue with them. They probably see things we don't, look though different lenses or take an entirely different viewpoint from our own. What's on their minds may reveal to us what's missing, broken, misunderstood or overlooked. We've got an innovation to formulate and that's that!

When we're being productive, different ideas come to mind compared to when we're being innovative. A productive frame of mind shuts out distractions and remains focused on the task at hand. Some minds cannot be productive, remain focused or shut out distractions. They get diagnosed as ADHD or ADD. These minds thrive on multitasking and simultaneously exploring many inputs. A innovative frame of mind is somewhat like that. We have uses for distractions, divergent ideas and detours. Otherwise, we'll end up the same place we always come to with no innovation to show for our efforts. But distractions get combined with the focused exploration. We enjoy the benefits of a paradox.

When we're innovating, we're asking very different questions from "how do we get this done?" Here's some questions that breed innovations:
  1. How can we take a different approach to this that seems like we're trying smarter, instead of our usual trying harder to make the same thing work like before?
  2. How can we redefine the problem before we begin to solve it so we end up solving a different problem entirely or see the familiar problem in a whole new light?
  3. How can we stop claiming this is a real problem and consider how it may be a partial solution, blessing in disguise or lesson we need to learn first?
  4. How can we make a different difference on our situation, change the effect we're having or influence others to take a different approach with us?
  5. How can we get turned around so we're no longer going against the current, fighting uphill battles and making things extra difficult for ourselves?
  6. How can give to the situation before we get something from it to prime the pump of everyone looking out for each other as much as possible?
  7. How can we find a way out of the same old story to rewrite our future, envision better possibilities and move toward goals we find appealing?
With questions like these in mind, innovations happen. We stay focused on the question until we get a new answer. We welcome distractions that may give us clues to the question we're exploring. It dawns on us to see things differently, consider unforeseen possibilities and explore new avenues. We let go of being productive for awhile and get into being innovative in the meantime.

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