Bloomberg recently reported on a study of sources of innovation, and ranked the states according to the “factors” that generate innovation. MSN Money introduced the subject this way http://money.msn.com/investing/the-20-most-innovative-states-in-america:
“Digital bragging rights
“California’s tech cred is unmatched. The Golden State is home to many of the world’s digital giants, such as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), and its startup ecosystem is the envy of entrepreneurs around the globe.
“Yet, among the 50 states and District of Columbia, it’s not the most innovative.
“Bloomberg Rankings recently analyzed each state on several levels, including: the concentration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workers; research-and-development spending; the percentage of public tech companies; and patent approvals. Based on those and other factors, we came up with a list of the most innovative states.”
This article gave me pause (yet again) with the realization that so often we overlook a great source of innovation, right under our noses. That is people, especially when they are challenged and then set free to find better ways of doing things. That’s largely what happened in the company whose rise (nearly) from the ashes to become the leading company in their industry I chronicled in the book Noble Enterprise.
It reminds me of another similar experience: a cover story article in a leading business journal long ago (at least ten and maybe twenty years ago) promised to share with its readers what changes the future would bring. I remember quickly opening the journal to read the article and to get a learned glimpse into the future. Both that article and the one mentioned above focus only on technological innovation, as if it were synonymous with “innovation” itself.
How about breakthroughs in understanding human behavior and motivation? How about breakthroughs in leadership techniques? And even exploration of the role and power of other human organs (or “centers”) long overlooked? Providing clues into human purpose and behavior as potential contributors to a different future could be invaluable for individuals, leaders and companies.
A recent article “The INVISIBLE HEART: Want Great Performance? Then Call Forth the Great Hidden Resource in Business – the Human Heart” is an example of such an endeavor. I wrote the article at the request of Fundação Dom Cabral, a leading Brazilian business school, following a talk I gave at their international business conference. Click here to read the article.
Bottom line: let’s not limit our search for innovation just to technology. Let’s also look to the human domain. That could easily surpass the value of innovation in the technical realm.
As Einstein put it:
“Do you remember how electrical currents and ‘unseen waves’ were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy”
As we expand the “knowledge about man”, we may well discover far greater sources of innovation than even technology has provided.
How are you innovating?
How are you encouraging your employees to innovate? And,
In what ways are you rethinking and supercharging the human ingredient to help make your business even more successful?