To be truly better, innovation is necessary. Better cannot be linear, it must be systematic. In other words, better can’t mean that it is only better in quality but not cost or functionality but not sustainability; it must be better on all accounts. Data is documenting that this can be done if continual improvement is ongoing. Research is also documenting that these solutions require a different approach and different work effort, however the results are more beneficial, and yes more profitable – in more than monetary ways. As Aaron Antonovsky said, “No one contends that museums pay off in cash.”
Better must take into account the whole system. As Jane Benyus clarify’s with BioMimicry, when nature evolves and creates new things, these new things also make life more livable. Its not so much that certain things are gone and no longer exist as they have evolved into a more complex functioning organism that improves the whole system – understand time factor. In other words, solutions were not fixes but ways to optimize the continually improving system that also provided fixes. By approaching better this way, nature created leaves and petals to not only increase the beauty of a plant, it provided feed for the plant when it fell to the ground, provided food for animals like us, and in some cases also protected it from predators with an emitted smell. Plants also are friends to the system by helping soil and air. Leaves help the soil by serving as feed, the plants hold the soil and the leaves perform photosynthesis to get food from carbon dioxide so it can exhale oxygen. It also performs many other functions to enhance its own life that also improve the system to make life more livable for all.
Nature’s answers that improved the whole system did not come about but focusing on how to fix problems, but rather by thinking about what can be done to improve the whole system. In doing this, not only was the system improved, the functioning of that species improved. A result was that problems dissolved. If the improvement did not lead to the dissolution of a problem, it really would not have been a true improvement. For example, humans developed their prefrontal cortex which now allows us to plan and predict for the future. While the benefits of this capability are innumerable and has led to our ability to create our world, problems such as being overcome by predictable problems has dissolved. For example we now know of possible weather change problems and difficulty in getting food at certain times of the year so we have built structures and stored food. Although some can suggest these solutions have created other problems, the example demonstrates solutions can not only create a better world for us, it also dissolves many associated problems.
With this in mind, it provides us with a map for how to become better at getting better. Aaron Antonovsky did work related to the origins of health, what he called salutogenesis and continually encouraged people to ask the salutogenic question – “What leads to movement toward the positive end.” This questions is not only relevant for health but for all fields – how can we move toward the positive end, not just away from the negative end. Realize positive and negative are not different ends of the same pole, they are on different poles. Positives and negatives have been shown to be independent in multiple fields. It seems we have gotten stuck with a focus on fixing problem or deficits incorrectly believing it will create positives. Maslow pointed out that progress must focus on growth not deficits because eliminating deficits does not create true growth. As I have shown in exceeding expectations, fixing problems is helpful but it can only return us to the status quo or where we were before the problem – not truly better.
If profit or money is a concern, we must remember money ALWAYS follows, it can’t lead. When better is created using the idea of continuous and never ending improvement, it starts a ripple and good things follow. Start as many positive ripples as you can. I look forward to all of us enjoying the positive ripples you create to help improve the whole system by creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.