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What is Innovation all about anyway?

Updated: May 5, 2019



So, it’s interesting. Been meaning to get back to writing for awhile, but it’s been hard to find the ‘space’ and time to really think and write. Lot of changes since the beginning of January when I last wrote. I’ve had to do some hard thinking about who I am, what I care about, what I want to do, and how I want to do that.


Basically came back to wanting to do #coolthingswithcoolpeople -

but what does that really look like?


What it looks like is taking a deeper look at innovation, leadership and organizational development - and finding others who care about that stuff and also want to know more about it, and how to support it more. Within the context of making the world a better place.



To that end, I’ve started to share a lot of things I’ve found interesting and innovative on various social media feeds I now have. Facebook, Linked In, Twitter - even Instagram occasionally. And for those who know me as a complete Luddite, you know this is something. ;)


Some of the things I’ve been sharing are related to topics like the following story on the need for more local food production in Nova Scotia. This is important because the trend is more and more people are moving to cities. Ok. If everyone lives in cities, then who’s going to make sure we have food - and how?


Now Singapore is also looking at this challenge, but they are in very different circumstances than Canada. They actually have to build land to continue to grow. So they are looking at how to create more food in cities. FYI, totally did not realize National Geographic has a channel on You Tube. Absolutely awesome! Not so much a nature buff, but love the cultural stuff.



In Canada, we actually have land - but our population is aging so fast, soon we won’t have very many people at all in our rural areas actually using the land to produce food.

This is why, when I first saw the story about the need for more local food production in Nova Scotia, I thought - wow. Interesting, because I also heard at a local event recently that a lot of newcomers to Nova Scotia have a lot of agricultural skills, but there is not enough land in the city to enable them to use those skills and to grow wonderful new foods from their home countries that help them feel more at home. And yet, they also tend to leave Halifax because for many there are not enough of their own people here to make them feel comfortable either.


Imagine if we could support more newcomers to feel welcome, and support them to help with the food production we need. How awesome would that be?



This is, to me, a large part of what Innovation is all about.


When many people think of innovation, they think of geniuses like Einstein or others for whom ideas just come like lightning.


Reality is, innovation can happen in many different ways - and often is just about connecting various ideas and problems, to create new ideas and solutions.


So, if that’s what a large part of innovation is all about - how do we do that more?


In my background of adult education, I’ve actually looked into that question a lot because I think it’s related to how we learn, how we connect as people and how we turn ideas into action.


Some big names for me related to this include: Habermas, Mezirow, Freire, Foucault, Proctor, Ganz, Daloz, Mitchell, Sackney and Berry. There, you just got the gist of my Master’s thesis in one sentence with a bunch of names. What those names represent is a web of ideas that are all about how we create change in the world.


One of the most basic is related to how we create new ideas, or meaning schemes, in our heads. Essentially how we learn new things.



Just to expand on one fellow a bit, Daloz; his idea was that we learn from ‘the other.’ The more we embrace ‘the other’ - meaning ideas, people, culture, things, experiences - the more we learn, and the more different all these things are, the more we’re exposed to the potential of real transformational learning. That is, quantum type learning that really boosts our thinking to new heights, new ways of thinking.



To do that, we need to seek out new ideas, new people, new experiences, new culture, new ways of being - and the more different the better. The idea is this creates a schism in our brains, in our normal ways of thinking. We are never the same.


One of my favourite people - and not just for his comedy - is Trevor Noah. He is always talking about his love of travel, and of learning about a whole host of new ideas, people, cultures, places.


In this conversation, he also talks about not only the idea of reparations and other ideas, but also how - in this day and age, we need to seek out various perspectives to get a sense of balance of what’s going on in the world.


So, in pursuit of that, I find myself deliberately trying to lean in to anything that’s different, that catches my eye, that I don’t know about, communities I don’t know about, history I don’t know about, culture I don’t know about, people I don’t know about. I have to say - this is one of the most exhilarating periods of my life just for this reason. I have never felt more creative, more excited. And I’ve been around a while. Done a few different things in my life.


Knowing all this, and leaning in to it, is like being reborn.


I’m now working with people who are more fun, more engaging, more challenging for me than ever. But I welcome that. I feel like it’s essential now to my growth as a human being.


I’m also looking to share what I’m learning as much as possible. To that end, I’ve created several ways to do that and some, hopefully cool hashtags, to help people find the things I’m sharing: #motivationmondays, #TEDtalktuesday, #womenswednesday, #howtothursday, #TGIF Fridays (because we all need some self care and time to recharge), #skillsharesaturddays and #deepthinksundays.


These are not all in depth stuff. Sometimes it’s a cute quote, something inspiring, something challenging, some music… whatever I find that moves me in some way.


If you’d like to join me on my journey, as I’ve mentioned check out my channels on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and Instagram. To get to them all easily, and other blogs I’ve written, check out my website at Chutzpah Consulting.


I’d also love to hear from you. What’s inspiring you these days? What kind of challenges are you dealing with? What’s moving you these days?


And what keeps you going when you don’t think you can keep going for another moment?


For me, it’s a quote by a woman who is not only an award-winning author, but also an activist who is also trying to create a better world.



When I lose hope, Roy and other powerful women like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (who recently gave a very compelling, but also very funny, address to Harvard’s graduating class that is a very clear call to action), they keep me going.



We are all called… to do our best, to be the best kind of human being we can be.


Part of doing that means exploring all the world has to offer, to be curious all your life - and then to use that knowledge, to explore that knowledge, to dive deep, think hard and dream.


Dream hard about what kind of world you want to live in, and what kind of world you want your children (or those of others) to grow up in. Remember, this is not really our world. It is theirs.


What can we ALL do to make it the best kind of future

for them that we possibly can dream of?



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