Innovation Rafting

Day 46 Week 7 Q1  Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Innovation is more like white water rafting than a mellow Sunday drive. Sure, you can pick the starting point in both cases. And even the ending point in many cases. But how you get, there is another matter. You see, when you are driving a car, you do not often encounter rapids or waterfalls, maybe if you’re off-roading in the boonies but not in the suburbs where more than half the US population lives. Innovation is a higher dynamic range activity. The distance between the highs and the lows is greater.  

When you get in a white water raft, you are surrendering to the river much more than you are surrendering to the highway when you go for a drive. You see, innovation takes over your life and can make you forget about eating, relationships, appointments and more. It can be intoxicating and aggravating at the same time, kind of like being in love. The emotional roller coaster is not for everyone. Suppose you want a low-risk small dynamic range existence. In that case, you may not want to get in a white water raft heading for a class five falls or jumping into an innovation culture, product cycle or organizational stretching activity. In both cases, you will get wet. But innovators are sort of waterproof and do not mind getting wet; they like it.

Telling innovators what to do, is kind of like telling a river what to do. Not too likely to work and is frustrating unless you are in the right frame of mind. If you work within an innovation culture, you will presumably all be in that frame of mind most of the time. If this makes you nervous because you want to be in control and know exactly what is happening and when it is happening most of the time, then you may want to choose a simpler path.

On the other hand, innovation might be your beat if you are intellectually and emotionally engaged enough not to notice if you are wet or dry when you helicopter up and down in a high dynamic range existence. The point I am trying to make here is innovation is not entirely knowable, manageable or without risk. And some of us like it that way.  Curiosity and courage do seem to be called for. I do not think I have ever met an innovator lacking the desire to go out in the world and mix things up.

So put your emotional wet suit on and jump in the innovation river. You may never be dry again because it is thrilling to be taken away by the powerful, high-velocity current of creating and manifesting your insights and ideas. In fact, it is addictive as long as you have the energy to stay afloat.