There's something to be said for Kitchen Table Wisdom - you know, like in the old days when people sat around the kitchen table after a meal and talked about life, the universe and the meaning of it all - as well as the gossip doing the rounds in town...

Well, that's what this place is - a place to share common wisdom, thoughts and feelings about things important and unimportant, that bring us joy, laughter and happiness and that trouble, sadden, confuse and anger us ...

What I write here is what's 'real' for me. It won't always be PC or 'nice'. We're missing out on true connection and chances to grow and change because there's too little authenticity, too little honesty, too much holding back what we really feel and mean.

Welcome to my world...

I used to have a copyright claim here, but I've removed it...

Ideas don't belong to anyone -

they come to those who are receptive and are to be used for the well being of all...

I find images and movies and music all over the web

and I use them to accent/expand on my thoughts and understandings...

If you feel you have experienced or received something of value in reading my posts,

please consider either:

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or paying it forward to those who need

material and emotional/spiritual sustenance in this world...

Thank You

As You Think, So It Is - Your Beliefs Create Your Reality

If your Reality isn't Working for You, Create a New One!

Life Unlimited!


(the Divine in me, recognises and honours the Divine in you)


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Innovation: Competition versus Collaboration

I've been part of a discussion amongst social entrepreneurs about what drives innovation?

Many people are still stuck in the 'free market' model, thinking that its the only one that fosters true innovation.

I disagree that competition in and of itself drives innovation.   Innovation basically is problem solving, curiosity manifested in creating something new.   It doesn't only happen in a competitive environment.   I believe its an inherent drive within the human spirit to create something new/different; its an extension of our need to express ourselves and it has little do do with what's going on in the outside world/market.

I think competition restricts innovation because there is so much at risk in daring to think outside the box - profits, reputation, social position, livelihood. That's why we have so much of the same thing with only minor variations available to us as consumers - small (often only cosmetic) changes are hailed as being highly innovative.

I think true innovation happens in an environment which is supportive, where there is no economic/political attachment to the outcome.   Innovation is an organic process.   Think of children being creative - how many children can think freely when they are under time or other constraints?    How many artists or authors can come up with their best work if the clock is ticking and their publisher is pushing them to meet a spring deadline because another popular author has a new book due out then?    How well do you do, if someone is standing over your shoulder, demanding that you produce something entirely original by a particular day/date, meeting highly defined criteria, using a tightly controlled set of resources?   If you can't do it, you and the process are termed 'failures'.

How much more likely is innovation to occur, if you could talk/collaborate with all the other people working in the same field, no matter what they're doing and for whom they work?    Imagine the incredible outcomes that might spontaneously present themselves out of the synergy of working without boundaries?

I come from a space where I'm not interested in competing with anyone.    There is no need - there's enough to go round (its an issue of ownership and distribution) and competing sets limits, boundaries, conditions and chokes off the ability to be innovative, expansive.   

I'm interested in collaboration and cooperation.   I'm into 'synergy' and 'synchronicity'.   I'm a natural networker - information and people cross my path, I keep tabs on who's doing what and where I see synergy I connect people and resources.   They go off and 'make wonderful music together' and I keep on with my own interests. 

I do this informally (because I would get bored and feel fenced in, and it would spoil the INTENT and the organic spontaneity of it) usually without any recompense or ongoing stake in the outcome - which some would say is foolish, naive, self-sabotaging and will keep me poor!

One of the major reasons I do this in just this way is because I see the spectrum of wealth-poverty we have in the world, even here in the West, and I think the imbalance we have going now is shockingly immoral and indefensible.   

Doing business as a social entrepreneur, using the existing competitive business/economic model, does not do enough to redress that basic imbalance - in fact, one could argue that it enables and perpetuates the imbalance.

I don't think things will change until individuals (as well as corporations) recant their involvement in competition and in the drive for personal wealth - when is enough enough, on a personal and societal level?   How much money can any one person spend in a lifetime, and how much stuff can you fit into your coffin? And who/what really paid for all those beautiful things we beautiful people surround ourselves with?   What was given up/lost so that we could enjoy the kind of life we do?

Social entrepreneurship is a laudable pathway IF we take it down to the personal level and consider our own, individual, daily lives part in the equation.   If we don't do that, then we're pretty much being hypocrites, aren't we?

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