An Innovator has an Obligation to…Think

by Kim Chandler McDonald

Editor’s note: we invite you to Kim Chandler McDonald’s weekly interactive forum — to read and collect your comments on  “An Innovator has an Obligation to…”   We hope you’ll  join the conversation!

Week 03 theme is “Think”


If, as George Carlin said, “An artist has an obligation to be en route”

Please complete this sentence: An innovator has an obligation to…

– think outside the box. Mitchell Levy, Thought Leader Architect, CEO, Speaker and Author

– simplify the useful things. Benedetto Raffaele, Project Manager, Consultant presso TI.IT

– think differently. –  Jay Fraser, Principal, Data Bridge Management – Mgt. of Innovation; Strategy; Tech Transfer

be forward thinking. Tim Perrin, Senior Product Designer / Inventor

– to have the courage, skills and tools to address the default dysfunctional privileging of converging thinking (decision-making) over divergent thinking that has been imported into many organizations from the graduate business schools. This privileging is at the core of most organizational innovation dysfunctions seen today. Everything else is theoretical window dressing. Forget shooting for “disruptive” if you don’t have your fundamental building blocks in place first. GK VanPatter, Co-Founder, HUMANTIFIC, SenseMaking for ChangeMaking.

– think long-term regarding said innovation – 50 years is a good number.Anthony Hall, Grandpa-Geek | Artist & Inventor

– understand the existing products and kill them by ‘thinking like a Competitor’. Isaac Gunasekaran, Delivery Manager IBM

– not think of himself as an innovator.Eric Offenstadt, Senior Technical Consultant chez G.C.A.

The biggest barrier to innovation is “groupthink”.  Too many organisation unconsciously don’t want innovative new ideas that by definition challenge the status quo.  Instead they favour a kind of groupthink where “everyone knows” that a certain idea, process or way of doing business is the right one.  And all too often if anyone challenges this  accepted wisdom there are negative consequences.  And for many people its much easier, safer and more comfortable to go along. – Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation from Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World

Perhaps a belief that ‘anything is possible’ is as relevant and useful as ‘out of the box’ thinking and resolute resourcefulness to an aspiring innovative society and the communities celebrating the problem-solving capacity of the innovative individuals within them.– Excerpt from the author’s essay, The State of the Nation Addressed: Taking Stock of How Things Stack Up, from Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World

If you would like to ‘have your say’, feel free to join in by sharing your thoughts below, and on the Innovation Excellence LinkedIn group forum!

image credit: ‘Anything is Possible’ by Kim Chandler McDonald

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Kim Chandler McDonald is author of Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World, as well as the Co-Founder and Flat World Navigator at KimmiC, a company specializing in  leading edge innovations such as FlatWorld™ – digital technology that empowers endusers to easily capture, collaborate and capitalize on ideas, information and knowledge assets.

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  1. Combine Creative Thinking with Critical Thinking – Francisco González Bree, Professor, Innovator and Artist, Deusto Business School

  2. an innovator has to be open minded and think generously (common benefit)

  3. Simplificate and add lightness…

  4. Be Fearless,

    Must be able to take constructive critisism while maintaining a positive attitude, and also being able to beak out and do what others are saying can’t be done.

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