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Culture Jolt #23 – Focus on epigenetics, not genes

Culture Jolt #23 – Focus on epigenetics, not genes

Welcome to our Conscious Innovator® process!

Are you ready for a new, insight-provoking “Jolt” … something designed to “rearrange your molecules” as it elicits your unique, innovative potential in life and work?

Jolts wake us up. They spur new self-awareness, new capabilities and values, and new actions. Paradoxically, we don’t learn from each Jolt – rather, each Jolt “learns us”! That is, a Jolt sits in the background of our consciousness and then prompts new insights and energy over time. 

Jolt #23: Focus on epigenetics, not genes

“Innovation is in our DNA!” How many executives readily say this? And how many others hope to declare it someday?

This notion of a “corporate biology” is quite intriguing. DNA is composed of regions called genes, and each gene encodes some function to occur. Could it be that people have some built-in “genes” that encode the corporate function of innovation to manifest?

Global history over the eons has shown that it’s in our human DNA to be innovative – to do things that are new, better, easier, or different, for better or worse. Within our DNA genes are also the qualities of good character that you find in all cultures, across time, such as respect, compassion, honesty, good intentions, positive outlook, and generosity. These qualities can inform and guide how we consciously innovate in accord with our highest human nature.

But the biology field of “epigenetics” has something illuminating to say about this: genes do not determine destiny. While we may have a genetic disposition for something (like athleticism or a specific disease), our behavior and our environment influence whether a particular gene gets expressed or suppressed. So while people within our organizations have the DNA genes for conscious innovation, they can still be inhibited!

Patagonia, makers of premium outdoor sports wear and gear, gives us a clear picture of how the environment for innovation can be epigenetically designed to activate and energize these genes for conscious innovation. Since its founding in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia has embodied a single, meaningful intention: “Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.” Fast Company magazine has rated Patagonia numerous times as a top 10 most innovative company for branding and social good.

They’ve fostered heartful connection with one another by getting rid of annual performance reviews and instead ask for ongoing digital feedback from fellow employees… and with their stakeholders by allowing paid leave for employees to volunteer time to their favorite environmental cause.

They strive for coherent action by developing strategies based on the principle, “Do what’s good for the planet – we’ll innovate a way to make it work for the business.” After all, their statement of values includes, “We are not bound by convention. Our success – and much of the fun – lies in developing new ways to do things.”

So the culture question is not, “Is innovation in our DNA?” The question is, “How are we activating our genes for conscious innovation in every person, every job, every day?”

-=-=-=- Now it's your turn -=-=-=-

Being a Conscious Innovator® has a 3 phase cyclical process: become aware, capable, and versatile. Try on this Jolt in your life and work, then take self-reflective time to engage in the process:

  1. Become aware – What is 1 new awareness you have about yourself, others and your situation?
  2. Identify your capability – What is 1 personal value and 1 strength you can draw from and put into practice?
  3. Take versatile action – What is 1 action you can take to apply your awareness and capability in ways you have not thought of before?

-=-=-=- An invitation to join our process and share your insights -=-=-=-

If you haven’t already, we’d love for you to join our process and share your own experiences, while learning from the experiences of others! We appreciate what one person said about the Jolt process itself:

Innovation is a world by itself. It can change lives and help people become more positive. Doing a Jolt is already something! A new habit that promotes innovation and reflection.

It’s totally FREE to participate. To sign up and join us, go to this link and follow the easy directions:

Even if you haven’t participated up to this point, it’s never too late to start the process! It’s like a concise gym workout that provides an insightful “pause that refreshes” and evokes your unique, innovative potential in life and work.

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