Friday, September 30, 2011

Innovation is... [Insert Phrase Here]

... uncomfortable if you like your rut.


Rut, (def): a fixed mode of procedure, course of life, usually dull or unpromising.


Have you ever found yourself in a rut? You know what it looks like, the pattern of doing the same thing each day until it becomes just "how you live?" Sometimes we call them traditions, other times we don't even notice they exist, like how we take the same route through the grocery store.

We as a human species like our ruts. We settle in, decorate, invite our friends over and generally get comfortable with our ruts. 

We put this under the category of Handling Ambiguity. 


- Handling Ambiguity
1. Picture this, what did you mean by that word?
2. Be uncomfortable, jump the rut your in.
3. Boundaries are good, unless you stay within them.
4. Clarity in time, doesn’t mean clarity now but soon.
5. It means something, there are opportunities to create meaning.



We had this happen to us. 

We got comfortable in the physical space we occupied. It was nice, 6th floor space in an 18th century wood trading building in Minneapolis. We always heard good comments on our space and really liked our tie to the skyway system (which is the subject for another day, when it is closer to 40 below zero outside). We had our rut and it was decorated just as we like it.


Then we were presented with something new, our current space. The deal was economically gorgeous, (Marilyn Monroe of lease deals). The location wasn't far away and the space itself was exponentially better than what we had. But, we deliberated for what seemed like decades (more like weeks). We look back on the time and see the rut of comfort we had around us. It was easy to stay in the Lumber Exchange. It would be disruptive to change. Finally we jumped the walls of our rut and this is where we currently reside.


Change isn't something the human species is comfortable with in general. Sometimes change is forced upon us (Think: Blockbuster, Newspapers or the buggy whip). Other times we make the deliberate and painful decision to change. Even when it could negatively impact us financial, emotionally or socially. 

Here are some ways to see the rut your in and get out.

1. Travel to new places, see new spaces and meet new people. It is hard to see the sameness if you're taken physically out of your sameness. 


2. When a "change" decision is confronting you, look at the real implications. Be honest with yourself, your team or your perceptions. What "real" implications are at stake? 


3. Seek outside perspectives and listen to them intently. Try to keep an open mind to what you're hearing. And, always consider what they have at stake in the decision, if anything at all.


4. Consider what type of advice you'd give yourself if you were looking back on this decision five years from now. Think about it. What will happen and what will the future "you" tell you? Sounds odd so keep it to yourself the first time you do it, but you'll be surprised what happens.


Just some of the ways we get out of our highly designed "rut" and see our world from another perspective.


Aaron Keller
Capsule
CapsuleScape
akeller@capsule.us

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