Innovation is Obvious in Retrospect

Greg Satell does a fantastic job of clarifying difficult topics. For instance, in his excellent book, Mapping Innovation: A playbook for navigating a disruptive age, he explains how innovation is really a combination of many known things. For instance, the smartphone put together things we already use, a phone, a GPS, the internet and much more. The iPhone was a big hit because of how it combined things, but after it was put together it seemed obvious, because we already knew how to user all the parts.

     

Upon  reflection, I realized that happens after any of us learn new things. From things as simple as learning to read or to riding a bike, once we know how to do it, it is obvious. Even what seemed complicated, for example quality management, it was obvious after it was explained. Quality management means to continually improve what is being done, or the process, so the product, the outcome, is better. Again, upon reflection, how else could a better outcome be realized than by improving what creates the outcome. Its obvious, in retrospect, however focusing on it during the process takes effort.

I work in health, and work from the Salutogenic perspective as developed by Aaron Antonovsky. Salutogenesis is about the causes of health, most people who do health do it by learning about the causes of disease. Logically, although ending disease is good, it is obvious to generate improved health, we should focus on the causes of health, not just the causes of disease. In retrospect it is obvious.

As I have continued to do work, I realize this approach is more effective in almost every field. Google aimed to make information more accessible, not to eliminate barriers. Of course eliminating barriers to information was necessary, but not the primary function. The primary function was to make information accessible. Steve Jobs heroic work at Apple was not to end all its problems, but to make insanely great products that were like bicycles for the mind. Of course, many problems were eliminated or avoided, but a different path was found to success and that path was not just about ending obstacles, it was about finding a way to get a better outcome.

Innovations are not about ending problems as much as they are about finding better ways to get things done using things we already know how to do. Putting an eraser on the end of the pencil at one time was a beneficial innovation. Now it is your turn. What can you combine in a new way to generate comprehensive improvements because they create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits? I look forward to using your helpful innovations – please share to help us all move forward.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

 

 

Feedback Requested

I updated the layout of my blog. What do you think? Please share your thoughts.

My goal is to help generate comprehensive improvements by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, reaching many people with information, selfless, providing thoughts that will spark ideas in you, and synergistic, starting a ripple that results in creative ideas that benefit everyone and everything.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a Good Book

I listened to this 29+ hour audio book. It was a far more enjoyable read than I expected. This book was chosen as one of NYT Best Books of 2020 (click here for NYT review). Listening to the book also enabled me to get a lot of walking in since I wanted to keep walking so I could continue to listen.

President Obama is a good writer. The book was interesting because it not only reviewed his first term, it also provided a history lesson related to all the events that occurred during his presidency. As he described the events from his presidency, he interlaced stories about his family. For each event he also provided a continual dose of the introspection he went through during his trying presidency. Those passages helped me understand the challenges he faced.

Overall, I kept thinking – how did he endure? I was exhausted just listening to all the things he did. After reading, upon reflection it seemed even more exhausting. I realized he did all these things while under time constraints, in real-time and with only limited information. When reading we now have the benefit hindsight, no time constraints and know more. 

The book started with a discussion of the work that was done on the financial crisis he inherited. While working on that solution, he would also have to do other things such as a commencement address to graduates in the US or in UAB, or to a meeting with national leaders, to meetings about ongoing issues such as Birthergate pushed by Trump, or the BP oil leak in the gulf,  or to his daughters basketball team practice. I say “or” but really it was “and” because all these events were ongoing. It was clear he did many things.

I encourage all to listen or read and I don’t think it matters which side of the aisle you are on politically. I force myself to listen to the other side at times, and generally gain increased understanding and or perspective. Once again, it is not that I am deciding which way is best, but learning about what can be a better way. As Stephen Covey helped me understand in his book, The 3rd Alternative, it is not about my way or your way, but about working together to find a better way. If you are interested, I discuss how to use the 3rd alternative in these posts: Honoring Justice Scalia – Dare to DisagreeProgress Trumps Problems and Perfection, and We Need to Use the 3rd Alternative.

It appeared to me President Obama was continually searching for selfish, selfish, and synergistic solutions. In my view he was often able to generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, interactions so everyone and everything benefits. I found this book entertaining, educational, and helpful. If you read, please share your thoughts about what you learned about how to generate comprehensive benefits so everyone and everything benefits. I look forward to hearing from you.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

 

Article Published to Improve Education & Health

 

With my colleagues, Ashley Norris,MS, Susannah Berry,MS, Beth Chaney, PhD and Molly Robinson, MPH, I expanded my research to early childhood education. The study was interesting and I learned a lot. Through this work I learned we can positively impact education and health by empowering the student and teacher in ways that also improve health behaviors. I published the findings in the American Journal of Health Studies article, “Pilot Assessment of the Scholar Checklist: A Tool for Early Childhood Health & Education“. If you are interested, you can see more about the article here.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!

#SelfishSelflessSynergy

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Review of Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the City

Edward Glaeser’s book, “The Triumph of the City: How our greatest inventions makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier“. This book was quite good. It helped me adjust my understanding of city living. He recommends taller buildings and increased density in areas that are temperate and require less carbon intensive lifestyles. He explained that when one area stops construction for local environmentalism, the harm is not avoided, it just shifts to a less temperate area, an outcome that hurt us all. As Edward Glaeser, PhD emphasizes throughout the book, the engine for improvement is people, not cities. Cities are great because they enable smart people to interact with other smart people more regularly. These interactions generate ideas and productivity. Throughout the book he cites statistics of increased productivity from cities with higher density than areas with a lower density of people.

There were several other aha moments for me throughout the book. A developed a new understanding related to poor people in cities. Dr. Glaeser explained that poor people come to the city because they see it as an opportunity to create a better life, which many are able to do. If people remain poor in a city, then work must be done by that city. If new poor people keep moving in, this can drive improvement. According to Dr. Glaeser, these are the keys to helping a city thrive: a good education system so people become more educated, a good infrastructure with good transportation, clean streets and the rule of law. If these factors are in place, it attracts people and investment. Additionally, with those precursors in place, they can generate an optimized process to yield desirable results for the city and that city can then contribute to the world. If a city wants to thrive, it is Incumbent upon that city to have a good infrastructure so all people can get a good education, be transported to jobs and are likely to meet with and interact with other people. He also documented the cities are good for immigrants and immigrants are good for cities because interactions with a diverse set of people yields even better results. This is an outcome from which we all benefit. Developing new talent through education and interactions is a good investment for the city and the world.

He also caused me to rethink taxing and how it is used. He documented that cities pay higher taxes due to higher salaries and higher productivity but then that tax money goes to less productive areas. Overall, he wasn’t complaining about being taxed just that the tax system now is anti-urban and pro suburban. He also noted a reason this happens. Congress is over represented by suburban areas. Low density states get 2 senators like high density states. He cited 5 states with just 1.2% of the population have 10% of the power in the senate and this creates an imbalance of power for a minority of the population.

Overall, he had an environmental agenda. He questioned this policy because cities are significantly less carbon intensive per person than suburban living. Suburban living generates more emissions per person than city living because suburban living generally requires more driving and bigger houses, each of which requires more energy use. An example of the subsidizing of suburban living was the mortgage tax deduction. I wonder about his thoughts now since the mortgage tax deduction has been eliminated. Another question relates to the recent publication in Scientific American, “U.S. Cities Are Underestimating Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The errors could make it more difficult for cities to meet goals for reducing their planet-warming footprint” (at: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-cities-are-underestimating-their-greenhouse-gas-emissions/)

Overall, it is a good book and a thought provoking. I recommend this book. These ideas all seem to support the practice of paneugenesis because it suggests cities can help generate comprehensive benefits by creating pervasive, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions with a good infrastructure from which everyone and everything will benefit.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

Updated: Achieving Big Goals Requires a Team Effort

A Team Effort…Also One More Thing at the End

A team effort is a coordinated approach when all on the team work together toward the same goal. It is when each team member does their part to help the team achieve its goal, despite their different roles. As Alvin Toffler explained:

We are all citizens of planet earth, so we are all on the same team, despite our different roles. Climate Change is a big issue and a coordinated team effort is necessary for progress. It looks like such an effort is starting. To help all in government who have different roles share the same goal, all posts will now consider how it can have a beneficial impact on the environment.

As described in this Washington Post article, Every Cabinet job is about climate change now, it says President Biden insists that addressing climate change is a job for all, not just the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). World changing quality management expert, Dr. W. Edwards Deming also emphasized that all must work together to achieve an aim. In his 14th point of his famous 14 Points, he explained that organizations must:

Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Leadership Sets the Pace

In the snow, once a path is made with a sled, it is easier for others to follow that path.

A path also creates a more predictable future. It is a more predictable future because you can see what is expected to happen if you follow that path. A predictable future helps organizations decide what they should do to be successful. Having a predictable future also means organizations can be more proactive about their choices, such as their decisions about environmental issues. Proactive decisions are better then being forced to react to new legislation or policy. As Mahatma Gandhi reminded us:  

The government is creating a path to follow.

Good leadership creates followers. Governmental leadership may have impacted the recent big change at General Motors. General Motors (GM) aims to end sale of gasoline, diesel-powered cars, SUVs, light trucks by 2035. GM created what some could consider an Idealized Outcome to sell only electric cars by 2035. While this is great, to me this really should be a way to plot progress. Either way, it is an example of how an organization with a different role, selling transportation, shares the same goal of a healthier environment.

The other benefit is that this change at GM makes them a leader. It also may help GM be a more profitable organization as noted in the NYTimes article, “G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars: Every carmaker is trying to figure out how to make the leap before governments force it and Tesla and other start-ups lure away drivers.” This could be very impactful as people and organizations choose transportation options that are better for the environment.

To show things coming together, it was announced that “Biden wants an all-electric federal fleet”. From postal trucks to passenger vans, the president wants to convert some 645,000 federal vehicles to electric power. The sticking point: They must be made by union workers from at least 50 percent American-made materials. The linked article explains the plan.

This choice also demonstrates a Selfish, Selfless, Synergistic move. #SelfishSelflessSynergy It is Selfish because it is better for GM, Selfless because it enables others to make helpful choices and supports Synergy because it will enable us all to enjoy a better environment.

Idealized Outcomes Visualize a Better Future

In the Paneugenesis Process, the idealized Outcome should operationalize a better future for all. We all want is a health promoting environment. An even more aggressive goal, or Idealized Outcome, could be what I heard from Toyota, years ago, that their aim was to have cars that clean the air as they operate. As we move forward, good leadership about the environment should help more groups, organizations and people understand that although we all have different roles, we all share the same goal of a clean and healthy environment.

In my role as a citizen, to contribute toward a better environment I have a plant strong eating style, mostly vegan, compost, recycle, bike or walk when I can, and support good environmental laws and candidates so I can create pervasive reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. These actions benefit the environment as they also help me be healthier. I look forward to hearing how you are working to improve your life as you also make contributions to a healthier environment. A strong relationship exists between better personal choices and beneficial environmental actions. A wonderful synergy exists between improved personal and planetary health.

In the tradition of Steve Jobs, One More Thing…

On February 2, 2021 the New York Times Had a Daily podcast was about, Assessing Biden’s Climate Plan: The president has signed several executive orders for environmental policies since taking office. But the real work of reducing America’s emissions has just begun. I encourage you to listen about this plan.

Be Well’r, 

Craig Becker

Please share your thoughts and questions below.