Innovation: You won't find it inside the circles

I've had this index card tagged in my newsreader for over two weeks now. Just last night I revisited it and found myself pondering the “C” and how much Jessica Hagy has really hit this one on the head ... and squarely!

But it worked in the 90s!

To be honest the comments on Jessica's blog really say it best. Once you try to wrap “best practices” into the confines of standard operating procedures you kill the very nature that made them best practices to begin. Bottom line --- You can't indoctrinate something that owes its attractiveness to innovation.

Anyway, I have feeling I will be able to use this image somehow in some future presentation (yup, that's why I'm posting it here) In the meantime, I'm convinced that real opportunity in this image lies not inside any of the circles, but in the larger white space outside the spheres ... that's where you really find innovation.


JenWaller said...

The area inside the spheres also represents a comfort zone. Innovators aren't required to take a flying leap outside their comfort zone and into the far-flung regions of the white space. I think one big step or a series of tiny incremental steps -- as long as they continue to be just beyond one's comfort zone -- will work.

Great visual.

Dave Ferguson said...

Years ago, a humorist published an anthology of his columns under the title, The Better of Goodman Ace. He explained that a more typical title could have people asking, "You mean that's your best?"

While it's a handy phrase, "best practice" can also be a bit pretentious, like "war room," "thought leader," and "webmaster."

So you might do well to seek better practices -- approaches that might work, as opposed to those that purportedly come with guarantees.

The other drawback is that when we look at what others do well (which is what "best practice" implies), we see the surface and not the details. If form does follow function, we often imitate the form; we don't see the trial-and-error experience that led to it.

Everyone joins the religion of "best," but not many practice it.