Innovation and the concept of being the best we can be is at the heart of my there’s-no-such-thing-as-competition philosophy. Who has time to look around at what others are doing when you’re so busy doing yourself?
And innovation is always looking at things in different ways, backward, forward, inside out, upside down, up close and off in the distance. Consider this quote by R. Buckminster Fuller about innovation: “Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we’ve been ignorant of their value.” I think that is a fascinating thought.
I love that quote by Mr. Fuller because it is like a Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs way of looking at innovation: people love doing the strangest, but most necessary things that most of us choose to never think about. Pollution is certainly one of those things, and learning to love pollution is a way to find a solution that creates value from something previously with a minus value. Innovation will never occur by ignoring the problem, but looking at it completely differently.
The worst thing to hear is some version of, “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” There are lots of versions on that theme. Innovation requires two things: one, a letting go of previously held truths, and two, an opening of the mind to perhaps radically different ideas. Of course, the ideas need not necessarily be radically different in order to be innovative, but many certainly will be, such as the case with pollution becoming of value.