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.
Please share your thoughts and questions below.