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Jolt #1 - Lessons Learned

Jolt #1 - Embrace innovation as a verb, not a noun

People from around the world have shared their insights and perspectives about how Jolt #1 has been “learning them.” We’ve organized and highlighted some of their wisdom below. But first, we invite you to jump in and see how this Jolt might just rearrange some of your own molecules!

Jolt #1: Embrace innovation as a verb, not a noun

Defining innovation as a noun makes it static, as if it were only “this” or “that.” It creates a shallow understanding in which only a select few get to innovate, and even fewer get credit for innovating.

Embracing innovation as a verb makes it dynamic, continually in process, always evolving, interconnected and fluid. Charlie Hill, Chief Technology Officer of IBM Design, says it well: "Everything is a prototype... that can always be improved!"

Being innovative, thinking innovatively, and acting innovatively all describe the ways in which every person can play in this ever-evolving, dynamic flow of innovating - not just a select few. While innovation as a noun can be a signpost to lead your way, innovation as a verb provides the energy, enthusiasm and authentic action to get you there.

In those awe-inspiring moments when you let go of the burden of defining and defending a fixed definition of innovation, you expand to a more alive, deeper and wiser place. From that place, everyone can participate in the process, whether or not they participate in the end product.

Before you move on to see what others have shared, we invite you to pause and reflect on how this Jolt stimulates your own musings about being innovate in your life and work…

-=-=-=- Reflections from Others -=-=-=-

Like a thumbprint, every person’s experience of a Jolt is unique. Their sharing gives us a peek into who they are and the story of their lives – and often a peek into ourselves as we resonate and recognize wisdom in what they say. 

So what does it look like “on the ground,” in people’s real lives, when they Embrace innovation as a verb, not a noun while following the steps in our 3-Minute Conscious Innovator™ process: become aware, identify your capability, and take versatile action? 

Be prepared… Some of their experiences may stimulate your own awareness, capabilities, and action!

An AHA of “no limits”

The awareness I got is, “Everything is a Prototype.” It shook me up and I suddenly got a high intensity of energy flowing through me being aware of the innovation opportunity that suddenly exists around me. Like I can innovate anything around me and there is no limit to it. This is an AHA moment for me. The personal value that I can bring to my life is to be alive to the opportunity of innovation that can make a difference to all stakeholders. One action I am taking is putting a reminder on my mobile phone to innovate whatever I am up to that day.

Harvesting what we innovate

I’m an innovator by nature, but that aspect of me accelerated after being diagnosed with a rare, genetic lung disease and told I would die young. I began custom designing every area of my life. My thinking has created an incredibly meaningful life, and I’ve lived longer than anyone thought possible! I’m also keenly aware I want to get better at harvesting more of the things I innovate. I create, but I often forget to put energy into letting others know they exist. The personal value I want to put into practice is Generosity, and the strength I want to apply is Perseverance. The action that feels most alive to me is to choose 3 tools that I’ve created in the last year and send them out to beta test and build on.

Rhythm rather than speed

Awareness: innovation in motion. I am always in motion in my mind and actions until I can accomplish what’s expected. This can wear others out; it’s not fair of me. Value: In my personal life, I draw on simplicity in a moment. Being present. I need to bring that out more. Action: I’m going to create more “stop” moments in my day – intentional pauses and reflections to re-calibrate my thoughts and energy. I need more of a rhythm, not just speed. 

Broadminded conversations

I’m a doer. I need to see things done very quickly. I don’t always consider innovation as a verb, but I can do it – because for me, innovation is a value. I always push people (and myself above all) to look for new ideas and new perspectives, so I have the right motivation to put it into practice. My action is to have conversations with my colleagues with a broadminded approach, asking for their views before sharing mine, and question my first idea before flagging the activity as “done” on my to-do list.

Here’s a further sampling of what we’ve heard and learned from around the world organized according to the 3-minute process: awareness, capability, and action.

Become aware

  • This Jolt reminds me to let go. Allow the uncomfortable to be comfortable, and follow where it may lead, even If that’s a dead end. There’s learning there. Perhaps it is simply to explore possibilities or experiment with ideas.
  • I feel more creative when I’m in the flow with my personal source of guidance and there’s no “me” making anything happen… what wants to happen simply emerges without much fanfare or ceremony. This is very different from when I was younger and thought my cleverness (more “me”) would make it happen.
  • This Jolt gets me reflecting on what innovation means. We often have different interpretations of the word “innovation” based on our experience or background. Letting go of all definitions and seeing innovation as fluid and changing gives space to welcome all interpretations… to be open to new ways of “innovating” without feeling bound by the word and its existing connotations.

Identify your capability

  • I use my personal values to guide my actions and decisions. Knowledge, Understanding, and Kindness are my top three values. This Jolt has reminded me of my capability to adapt and overcome, which enables me to disrupt myself, and continue to innovate myself.
  • One new awareness is that awareness brings newness to anything. The awareness about my ability to respond to life, and to any situation becomes more real-like and tangible. The strength I draw from and put into practice is being loving and joyful… celebrating each moment.
  • When I deliver innovative thinking programs, I notice how people push down others’ new thoughts very quickly, jumping into judgments. To conquer this tendency in myself, I have the ability to go back to the very beginning, have curiosity to learn the purpose, cool down myself, and not be too fast.

Take versatile action

  • I am the kind of person who is never willing to settle for less. Instead of intimidating others, I am learning to use it to inspire others. One thing I think I should do more is to give feedback to my team members and to celebrate more often.
  • I love the idea of innovation as an inner attitude, thinking, and acting. I try to create a safe space and actively encourage people to speak up by asking generative questions. Sometimes I consciously invite diversity in the form of people whose experience is furthest away from a topic. This often reveals our blind spots and shifts direction in the search for solutions.
  • I have to apply the learning/awareness that while it’s good to have the big picture in your head, you have to start and keep innovating! Look at the journey, define the milestones, and keep evolving from one prototype to another! You have to be innovating the whole time!

This Jolt helped one person notice something missing in her life:

My new awareness is that things seem less colorful – I attribute this to losing my biculturalism, which I have always highly valued. This is causing a reduction of inner passion and my ability to see multiple perspectives simultaneously. I can draw on Resilience, and rely on the quality of being Undaunted to keep me going. 

As a result, she took action, and a few weeks later came back and shared what she’d done:

I became aware that many of the Spanish -speaking people I know have been receiving news about COVID-19 that was mostly incorrect: it didn’t apply to our local county. As a result, I launched a new Spanish website to provide accurate, well-researched information for our county. To date, not only have 600 visitors gotten accurate information they didn’t have before, but several of my friends from my hometown in Mexico have gotten back in touch with me! I’m feeling a resurgence of passion. And all along, I didn’t overthink the situation; I just allowed it to create itself. Lovely.

-=-=-=- Our own insights and growth -=-=-=-

No doubt, the process of “mining the gold” from this Jolt is an ongoing one. It continues to “learn us” from the inside out of our consciousness… deepened by the rich sharing from others. 

Our own insights, sense of capability, and potential actions have expanded in terms of… Letting go, Being in the flow, Having no limits, Being comfortable with discomfort, Enjoying each moment, Adapting, Creating safe spaces, and just plain Being curious.

For example, Debra is a doer who likes to see results. This Jolt was a reminder to her that she has much more energy and wisdom when she relaxes and becomes centered within. What “embracing innovation as a verb” has meant to her is to breathe deeply, expand her heart and mind, become present, and ask her higher wisdom, “What is mine to do today?” 

This Jolt prompted William to embrace EVERY noun – every “thing” – as a verb! Drawing from his background in space-time physics, William connected freshly with what he already knew… that everything is in an ongoing, dynamic, evolving pattern of energy that is never static. From that perspective, he started to see how everything could be a “prototype” – a form of energy that is always ripe to be “shape-shifted” in any time and place. Innovating is thus a process of flowing with and directing the energy pattern into something new, better, or different. 

We’d like to close with this final inspiration that someone shared:

Every moment can be an innovative one! It’s not about breakthrough, but more about how I can make a difference in every thought and action of mine.

-=-=-=- An invitation to join our process! -=-=-=-

How about you? HOW HAS THIS JOLT STIMULATED YOUR OWN INSIGHTS AND MUSINGS ABOUT INNOVATING IN YOUR OWN LIFE AND WORK?

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: https://innovate.vci.global/p/the-3-minute-conscious-innovator

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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