Saul Kaplan: The Human Side of Innovation
Monday, September 28, 2015
Last week I had the great honor of hosting over 500 innovation junkies from around the world at #BIF2015, the Business Innovation Factory’s 11th annual Collaborative Innovation Summit. I glimpsed the future at #BIF2015 and I can confidently report that the future is about unleashing the human side of innovation. Every year we ask 32 storytellers, not speakers, to take the stage, share a personal story of transformation and to catalyze a reaction among all summit participants. And what a reaction we started. I’m still shaking from the experience. Storyteller after storyteller shared a personal story leaving their normal conference talks at home. They all shared genuine experiences and reflections. It was inspirational beyond words. What each storyteller shared wasn’t about a fancy new idea, although they had plenty of those, but about how they connect their hearts to good ideas in order to catalyze real transformational change. It was raw human emotion, it was genuine and it was moving.
Here’s a sample of #BIF2015 quotes you wouldn’t expect to hear at an innovation conference! (All of the #BIF2015 storyteller videos will be available publicly in about 4 weeks)
“We figured out the science of life, but we haven’t figured out the art of living” Michael Samuelson
“Go deep to reflect on your inner vision and then apply it to reality in the key of life” Chris Emdin
“Who you are and where you come from is your competitive advantage.” Jaime Casap
“Push yourself to the edge of your own thinking”. Rick Benjamin
“What would it be like if you were only known for the worst thing you’d ever done?” Catherine Hoke
“You can’t read your Book of Life on LinkedIn. Your Book of Life is not your resume.” Dennis Whittle
“How we are is what we become.” Barry Svigals
“Who in your life wrapped their arms around you and said, ‘Everything is going to be okay’?” Carlos Moreno
Participants kept coming up to me at the breaks in between storyteller sessions communicating different versions of the same idea,
“I expect intellectual stimulation when I attend an innovation conference but I don’t expect to cry.”
There were no shortage of tears throughout #BIF2015. Yes, you read it right, tears at an innovation conference! If we want to transform anything we had better learn how to connect our hearts to our ideas. We had better learn to lead with the human side of innovation before we get too excited about any new technology. We had better learn how to activate hearts before minds. Transformation of any of our important social systems including education, health care and government is about enabling a movement, a human-centered movement. Transforming the things that really matter is about hearts before it’s about minds.
The same is true for transforming any business that’s increasingly vulnerable to being Netflixed or obliterated by an unsuspected disruptive business model. Today’s leaders aren’t acting paranoid without reason; disruptors really are around every corner! Tweaking your current business model or leaning against disruptive change won’t cut it. Only creating the conditions and emotional space to explore and test transformational new business models will prevent disruption. Business models don’t last as long as they used to. R&D for new business models is the new strategic imperative for all leaders. You can get away with innovation stage gates to manage incremental innovation but without tapping the human side of innovation business model transformation is impossible.
No person, organization or community will transform anything without first embracing the human side of innovation. The prerequisite for transformation is creating an emotional connection to any change. Not after a “change management” plan has been developed but while change is being considered and designed. No one signs up for change they didn’t help design. Transformational change starts with humans feeling like a part of the story. Transformation is impossible until we can see ourselves in the story and until we can actively participate in the story. I think it may be as simple as:
No Heart No Innovation
We have more technology available to us than we can absorb as humans. It’s not a lack of shiny new inventions or technologies that is getting in our way. It’s us humans, the organizations and industrial era social systems that we live and work in that are stubbornly resistant to change. Transformation is only possible if we start with transforming ourselves. Transforming anything starts with the heart, it starts with the human side of innovation.
We have been thinking about innovation all wrong. It isn’t about what new solutions and tools we can invent, but about how we can activate human potential. How can we catalyze students, patients, citizens and consumers to unleash their best selves and to be the champions of their own future? What if innovation isn’t about inventing anything new at all? What if it is about creating the conditions for all of us to more freely combine and recombine the technology we already have to make the world a better place? What if we changed our approach to start by better connecting our best ideas with our hearts?
So the next time you go to an innovation conference or discuss innovation in your company start by asking, where’s the heart? Who’s with me? Let’s go all in together on the human side of innovation.
Related Slideshow: RI Business Rankings in US
See how Rhode Island stacked up.
Rhode Island has 2015's eighth highest insurance premium penalties for high risk drivers, according to a WalletHub report.
Rhode Island ranks fifth overall in the category of speeding over 20 mph annual premium increase at $482. While ranking third overall in the category of 2 accidents annual premium increase at $2,721.
Rhode Island ranks ninth overall under the reckless driving annual premium increase at $749.
Rhode Island has been ranked as the 8th most eco-friendly state in the country, according to a recent study by WalletHub.
Rhode Island ranks third in environmental quality and 16th in Eco-Friendly Behaviors Ran landing them in 8th overall.
RI is behind Washington and New Hampshire who are in the six and seven spots respectively, and in front of Connecticut and Hawaii who come in at the nine and ten spot.
Rhode Island is 2015's 4th Worst State to be a taxpayer, according to a recent WalletHub report.
Rhode Island ranks 48th of 51 with an average state and local tax price of $7,159 which is good for a 27% difference from the national average.
The states that are directly behind Rhode Island are Wisconsin at $7,159, Nebraska at $7,298 and Illinois at $7,719 for a 37% difference from the national average.
Rhode Island has the highest vehicle property taxes in the country, paying an average of $1,133 according to a report from WalletHub.
Virginia and Kansas are the two states just ahead of Rhode Island in the 49 and 50 spots, paying $962 and $905 respectively.
RI also ranks 42nd in average real estate tax, paying an average of $2,779, according to the WalletHub report.
WalletHub has ranked Rhode Island as the 7th worst state to be rich in in a recent in depth analysis of 2015's Best States to be Rich or Poor From a Tax Perspective.
On a scale with 1 being the best, and 25 being average, Rhode Island ranks 37th in low income earners, 42 in middle income earners and 45th in high income earners.
To see the full report, click here.
Providence-metro ranks at the bottom for job creation in 2014
Rhode Island has been ranked amongst the worst in job creation, according to a recent survey done by Gallup.
Gallup gives the Prov-metro area an index score of 23, the lowest score is the New York- New Jersey area with 20.
Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin-round Rock, Texas rank the highest with a score of 37.
The 2014 state rankings by Forbes has just been released and Rhode Island moved up two spots from #48 in 2013 to #46 in 2014.
What does Forbes say about RI's business environment"
After Michigan and Illinois, Rhode Island has experienced the third worst net migration out of its state in the country over the past five years. With a recent unemployment rate of 7.6%—lower than only Georgia and Mississippi—residents are leaving the state in search of jobs. Rhode Island has been stuck in the bottom five overall for six straight years. One plus: labor costs are 5% below the national average, which stands out in the expensive Northeast.
Findings from The State Business Tax Climate Index were released this morning by Tax Foundation which found Rhode Island to have the 45th best tax climate for businesses for 2015. The state's rank has not changed since last year after The Index analyzed 100 different tax variables in multiple categories.
Providence is the second worst city in America for small business, according to a new survey conducted by Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation.
More than 12,000 small businesses in 82 cities across the country participate in the survey. Providence received an overall "F" grade for small business friendliness.
Small Business Friendliness Grade: F
The Economist grades states on an A+ to F grading scale for its small business climate. Rhode Island is one of just 6 states to earn an "F" grade.
Overbearing bureaucracy and excessive licensing is stifling small business in America.
Forbes ranks each state in business costs, economic climate, and growth prospects. RI is third worst in 2013.
The most damning in the commentary:
After Michigan, Rhode Island has experienced the second worst net migration in the country over the past five years.
ChiefExecutive.net ranks each state in taxations and regulations, workforce quality, and living environment.
The most damning in the commentary:
Sky-high unemployment rate bespeaks continuing terrible business climate.
#46 Tax Foundation
Tax Foundation ranks each state in corporate tax rank, sales tax rank, and unemployment insurance tax rank.
Rhode Island and the other states in the bottom ten suffer from the same afflictions: complex, non-neutral taxes with comparatively high rates.
ALEC ranks each state in economic performance and outlook.
Although Rhode Island ranked low in economic performance, a forward-looking forecast is based on the state’s standing in 15 important state policy variables. Some of these variables include top marginal personal income tax rate and sales tax burden.
#47 Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise ranks each state in performance, exports, innovation + entrepreneurship, business climate, talent pipeline, infrastructure.
Rhode Island has continued to feel the direct impact and ripples from the recent recession—it ranks 47th overall in economic performance. However, positive rankings of 15th in talent pipeline and 16th in innovation and entrepreneurship suggest the existence of a foundation on which to build the future.
The Pew Charitable Trusts
#40 The Pew Charitable Trusts
The Pew Charitable Trusts ranks each state in job growth and job creation.
Rhode Island added 6,223 jobs in 2014.
10th Worst in Gallup's Annual Ranking of State Job Markets 2014
Rhode Island has been ranked 10th worst for job creation in Gallup's annual ranking of state job markets in 2014 with a job creation index number of 21
Rhode Island is one of two (Connecticut) states to rank in the bottom ten each year since 2008.
The 2014 State level findings have were drawn from 201,254 interviews with employed adults across the nation.
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