I like philosophies and axioms as they simplify complex things. They facilitate understanding and make things easy to remember. Most big thinkers and famous people throughout history, dead or still alive, have a philosophy or a number of axioms that other people want to refer to. Using these axioms, you also kind of borrow their intellectual capital, and you appear to be both smarter and wiser.
I don’t think they were originally invented as axioms. Rather, they were just expressed at a certain moment to fulfill a certain purpose, and people liked them and started to use them because they were spot on.
In several of my previous posts about creativity and innovation, I have talked about the importance of inspiration for coming up with new ideas. By achieving cross-fertilization between different knowledge pillars in your head, and being influenced of all kinds of serious and crazy things that happen around you, new ideas are created. These new ideas are born in a junction of two or several areas.
Steve Jobs said that Apple lives at the junction of art and technology. Kind of poetry, isn’t? At the junction of art where music, graphics and design meet the requirements of technology such as the Internet, phones and games, new ideas and user expectations are created.
When I try to explain the theory of junctions at conferences and seminars, I give it a name—I call it “Junction Philosophy”. As with Apple, I don’t know at what junction your company lives or where IFS lives, but that can be the topic for another post. Instead, Junction Philosophy is on an individual level. Where do you, as an individual, see your strengths in the innovation process? At what junction do you live?
In my previous post I referred to the so called “Strawberry Philosophy” that aims to explain that you can only sell the berries you have, because these are the only berries you have available. The only talent available is your own skills. Make sure to get the most out of them.
The innovation process includes all stages from generating the idea to developing and selling the idea as a fully fledged product innovation to the market. In your company’s innovation processes, make sure that you stay at the junction where YOU flourish, based on your own personal prerequisites. Don’t waste your energy by assuming you are someone else and end up at a junction that doesn’t suit you.
Let’s carry out a little test and find out where your two roads of personal strengths cross. Are your strengths generating and selling fledgling ideas, or are you a master of technical design and prototyping? Maybe your home ground is honing the marketing messages in catchy pay-offs and tag lines? In either situation you have at least two strengths that make you unique. I now want you to think what these two things are.
To help you, I will share my personal strengths in the innovation process with you. I live at the junction of being educational and inspirational. I prefer to be at those stages of the innovation process where the idea needs to be explained and sold to a stakeholder to get buy-in. I am not a techy person and I am not interested in what the technical solution should be. I know more about decision-making and how to package the original problem and explain, in a convincing way, the solution and the business value of the product innovation. That is my junction where I believe in my own strengths and experience. This is also an area where I’m constantly trying to develop my skills.
If you can’t find your junction here and now, please bear this post in mind, and you’ll come up with an answer soon enough. Remember, doing the right things, which both challenge you and that are in your comfort zone, will release lots of energy. Only that energy—generated by you and your colleagues—will take an idea all the way to become a profitable product that’s ready to take the market by storm.
Let’s see if Junction Philosophy will become an axiom—either while I’m still alive or long after my death— that will help people understand and explain the importance of being at the right junction to release maximum energy in the innovation process.