Innovating Day: a new (un)holiday?


I hereby propose a new (un)holiday.  I'm calling it an (un)holiday because it won't be an occasion for grilling meats and drinking spirits (though that could happen, I suppose).  It's not a day of vacation, for it is meant to remind of us to be mindful of our approach to working through certain types of problems.  It is not a day for celebrations, but it is celebratory in nature: it celebrates not just an event, but an entire way of being.

I hereby declare December 17 to be Innovating Day

Innovate.  Take action.  It's about the verb — innovating — and not the noun.  Personally, I'm tired of talking about the noun innovation and reading books about that noun, and only want to help people and organizations get in better touch with their creative confidence so that they can go out and innovate.  Trying to understand how to get to innovative outcomes via a process analyzing the inputs and outputs of innovation is akin to trying to understand love by reading textbooks on biology and genomics.  I'd wager that the best lovers in history didn't read books on the subject.  Much better, methinks, to go out and do it in order to understand it.  Love, innovate, do, live: you'll come to understand your own self and process in due time.  Which is the whole point.

Today is Innovating Day because December 17 marks the anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright completing the first controlled flight of a heavier-than-air machine.  The Wrights were nothing if not intuitive innovators, deeply in touch with a personal design process which allowed them to go where no man had gone before.  I won't pretend that the Wrights followed any of the principles of innovating which I've been discussing here over the past year, but I will declare that those principles are largely inspired by the lives of the Wrights.  In particular, the events of December 17 helped inspire these specific principles:

 1.  Experience the world instead of talking about experiencing the world.

 4.  Prototype as if you are right.  Listen as if you are wrong.

10.  Baby steps often lead to big leaps.

14.  Failure sucks, but instructs.

I'd like to ask you to do one thing today:  as you work your way through a situation that's new within the context of your own life experience, be it big or small, try to mindful of your approach to the situation.  Try to see of you can apply any of the principles of innovating to your task at hand.  If you're stuck, I highly recommend proceeding with Principle 3 as a starting point.

So, please spread the news and let your friends and loved ones know that December 17 is Innovating Day.

One final thought:  as the great Gordon MacKenzie wrote, "Orville Wright didn't have a pilot license".  You don't need a degree from a fancy program in design thinking or engineering to start being innovative. 

Just try it.

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