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Real Innovation Requires Changing Your Thinking

Adopting network strategies and dispelling institutional dogma is at the core of true innovation

Innovations Software Technology on Ulitzer

One of my favorite quotes is that of Daniel Boorstin who observed, "The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." Boorstin, a renowned historian and former Librarian of Congress who wrote numerous books including, The Genius of American Politics, Democracy and Its Discontents, and The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson, was right. Overcoming challenges is largely a function of letting go of assumptions. As he put it, "If we think we know something, then we face an obstacle to innovation." In his 1983 bestseller The Discoverers , the author chronicled the achievements of Galileo, Columbus, Darwin, Gutenberg and Freud, among others, who emerged as drivers of creativity and courage, and committed ingenious acts of revolt against ingrained habit. Great discoverers dispel illusions and reveal something new about the world as is further evidenced by Boorstin's interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's contributions and philosophies, when he said,

"Jefferson, in my opinion, was the apostle of experience. In other words, he was the person who believed that everything had to change. He thought that every generation should have the opportunity to have its own revolution, to write its own laws, and that was his vision of the past and the future"

Given the rapid advancements of global ism, technology and cultural, reliance upon Boorstin's realizations and the lessons of history are more relevant than ever, as is the need for leaders to emerge, dispel illusion and move us forward via our own revolution.

Dogma is prevalent and represents institutional thinking that is the very "illusion of knowledge" Borstein identified. Classic institutions are by nature closed, selective and controlling. Persons participating in institutional thinking have to be "careful" of what they absorb, guarded with whom they interact and controlling of everything. Essentially, risk aversion and maintenance of the status quo is the dna of most institutions and thus the reasons most institutions are failing in an increasingly network oriented world.

The great opportunity which the convergence of rapid technological advancement, the rise of the rest of the world, and the maturation of our global culture presents is a move toward non-institutional thinking: being open, accepting everything and embracing non-linear processes.

No matter the debate, be it health care, education, or your organization's effectiveness, adopting network strategies and dispelling institutional dogma is at the core of true innovation. Watch the video by Thomas Power who describes institutional thinking, its limits and the opportunity that the new paradigm provides.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Bryan O'Rourke

Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in FitmarcIntegerusFitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .

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