29 June 2006

Creating a Culture of Innovation

I had the privilege of visiting the Service Canada Leadership Conference yesterday, hosted by the Canada School of Public Service. Some of the initiatives that I heard about were truly forward-thinking and tremendously encouraging as a new way to deliver Government services to Canadians (although it would be inappropriate for me to blog about them specifically). Suffice it to say, this isn't your parents' public service. I did a session with them called Creating a Culture of Innovation [pdf]. Here is the outline of the four principles that I shared with them:
four simple principles that are crucial to creating a culture of innovation. Here they are:
  • See what isn’t there.
  • Think what no one else can think.
  • Do what no one else dares to do.
  • Multiply your mind by giving it away.
In the talk, I describe how the Laws of Media tetrads can be used to create anti-environment awareness for the first two principles, and how the UCaPP world changes the nature of knowledge creation, and hence innovation, for the second two principles.
What haven’t you noticed lately, particularly about the four principles that enable the creation of a culture of innovation? If you line up the first three – See what’s not there; Think what no one else can think; and Do what no one else dares to do – you end up with some very mundane and ordinary advice: See. Think. Do. But by putting them through the tetrad tool that enhances and extends our perception and cognition we get a reversal: See – what isn’t there, what we have been conditioned to ignore because our attention has been directed elsewhere for so long. An extension – Think – what no one else can think, in other words, beyond the imposed mental restrictions that limit creative cognition. An obsolescence – Do what no one else dares to do, because the societal ground in which their actions once made sense is now obsolesced. And the fourth principle – Multiply your mind by giving it away – is the retrieval, the dominant mode of the tetrad. One could say that this fourth principle is the retrieval of simple, old-fashion charity, but in a new and incredibly powerful form. Because in the UCaPP world, multiplying your mind by giving it away is another way of affirming that together, we’re all smarter.
I also shared the tetrad-enhanced technique of better brainstorming. In retrospect, I would have liked to have had more time to spend with this "brains-on" application of what I spoke about in the talk, but then again, that sort of thing is rather difficult to do in a meaningful way with a group as large as 80 people (which was the sign-up limit for my session). (Of course, I'm always available to do a more in-depth follow-on session with individual departmental groups!)

Thanks, CSPS and Service Canada, for the invitation. It was an interesting day.

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