Tag Archives: authenticity

What #BIF9 and Burning Man Taught Me About Transformation – Part II (via Deming!)

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Even the phones at Burning Man tell you that you’re in Black Rock City, NV

In Part I, I described some observations from my experiences at BIF and Burning Man, and alluded to the notion that I might have uncovered a very simple “secret sauce” they share. Here are the observations:

  • Both communities consist of active and engaged participants who could be considered “innovation junkies”. Whereas the BIF crowd focuses on more traditional organizational and social innovation, the Burning Man crowd spans the extremes of experiential innovation (through art, technology, interactions with other people, or even just figuring out how to navigate life in the Black Rock Desert).
  • “Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects” (#RCUS) is the norm in both environments. First, the “unusual suspects” seem to be attracted to opportunities to be inspired and get their brains re-wired; second, the participants in both environments seem predisposed to the notion that serendipity is working on their behalf — and they let it happen.
  • People at both BIF and Burning Man tend towards non-judgment, seeking to appreciate and learn from their differences (rather than to resist, deny, or challenge those differences).

The common thread is that both environments have something magical designed into them, and this is the secret sauce: the push to drive out fear. Many of the BIF storytellers have been through Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and make themselves vulnerable so that the audience can vicariously (and often emotionally!) experience their transformation; at Burning Man, you’re stripped of your usual identity and thus unburdened from the fear you might carry as a result of having developed that identity over so many years.

When quality guru W. Edwards Deming formulated his 14 Points decades ago – principles for managers to transform business effectiveness – he expressed that the purpose of the points was to enable everyone to work with joy. One of the points (my favorite one, in fact) is to drive out fear so that everyone may work effectively.

If you are to fully embrace innovation, there is no room for fear! You must work towards fully being yourself, to push your own boundaries, and by extension, to push the boundaries of others, and to push the boundaries of traditional and accepted ways of doing things (“business models”). You are encouraged to own your own story, to TELL your own story, and to connect with others to help them identify with their own stories – and chase away the fear of being authentic, of being able to contribute to your greatest potential.

Why do we hold back? Why are we fearful? (I do it too, all the time.)

  • I am afraid you won’t accept me. I am afraid you won’t like me.
  • I am afraid you will disagree with my choices or decisions, and struggle with me or reject me as a result.
  • I’m afraid you won’t think I’m smart enough, good enough, worthy enough.
  • I am afraid that if you know who I really am, it might have consequences for my health or well-being (e.g. I could lose job, my reputation, my standing within the organization or community).
  • I’m afraid that what I’m trying to do – or be – just won’t work.

 

FEAR **IS** THE BOX.


To think “out of the box,” you must be living out of the box, and it’s an ongoing (and lifelong) process to do that.

I have not yet achieved healthy fearlessness as my steady state – I’m still awaiting bursts of my own personal transformation.  According to Ignite.me:

Joseph Campbell talked about the ‘Hero’s Journey’ whereby the hero is beckoned to enter an unfamiliar world.  When the hero enters this world, they are met with challenges, hurdles, and eventually a seemingly insurmountable confrontation which is achieved by using skills they picked up along the journey.  By overcoming this obstacle, the hero attains new self-knowledge which they can bring back to their people in the ‘ordinary land’ as their gift to the world.

Common themes of ancient mystery traditions are secrecy, death of the ego, participating with archetypal reality, and a rebirth of a new self.  The Eleusinian Mysteries took place over almost 2000 years and were shrouded in mystery from the uninitiated. Shamanic initiation often comes with the shaman being psychologically and experientially deconstructed and put back together.  Some tribal societies had rites of passage where children are ripped away from the bosom of the mother and left in the bush to learn how to become a warrior.  Rites of passage are transformational experiences where the old you is transformed into a new YOU.  That’s where we want to take you, and we create the container for that transformation.

What that means is that you may come as a journalist, or a chef, or a bike messenger, or a computer programmer but for the duration of our journey, you may choose to leave that behind to lose yourself in the present in workshops, dance, yoga, and celebration.  Transformation is disruptive and disorienting and actually occurs when past beliefs are shattered, habits are broken, and futures are rewritten.

By temporarily suspending fear, you create the space for transformation – the space for new experiences to redefine what you know and feel about yourself, and your interactions with other people and the world around you.

But this concept has been around for thousands of years… more on that tomorrow.

What #BIF9 and Burning Man Taught Me About Transformation – Part I

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Registration Desk for our “Transform Learning” Unconference at Burning Man 2013

I spent the last week of August at Burning Man, and two days in September at Saul Kaplan‘s Business Innovation Factory Summit (BIF-9). On the surface, these two events couldn’t seem more different – the former is a counterculture festival of art and technology and spirit in the middle of the barren Nevada desert, whereas the latter is a traditional conference with TED-style talks punctuated by opportunities for business-card networking — in metropolitan Providence, Rhode Island. 

So why did I emerge from each of these vastly different experiences with the exact same, buoyant, intellectually inspired feeling? I’ve been curious ever since my plane touched the ground at DCA last week, and I emerged from the jetway with the same bittersweet resignation that I’d need to return to the “default world” in the morning. Granted, there’s a little bit of overlap… Peter Hirshberg, one of my 2013 neighbors from Playaskool, gave a great BIF talk about “retribalizing the city” and specifically cited Black Rock City as the kind of vision for the future that might have been celebrated at a World’s Fair of the past. Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, also briefly noted the shared vibe of the Maker movement, Burning Man, and BIF when he was on stage — a vibe he aims to capture in his Downtown Project in Las Vegas.

But what’s the overlap? Why did both events inspire similar feelings in me?

Thanks to BIF-9 (and @AngelaMaiers), I remembered that I am a genius and the (default) world needs my contribution! And when Matt Murrie of What If? published his article yesterday on the Huffington Post, he provided another clue:  He reminded me that the spirit of BIF is easily captured by the phrases on those giant yellow slides that stay up on the screen in between BIF talks: think transformation, and try more stuff.

Think transformation! Try more stuff! And I’m needed… I’m an important part of all this!

That’s precisely how I felt as a resident of Black Rock City… and as a member of the BIF community sitting in the Trinity Rep theater. But the real secret sauce is… well, I’ll save that reveal for the end 🙂

First, some observations about the shared vibe between Burning Man and BIF:

  • Burners and BIFfers are, by their nature, “innovation junkies”. At a Burn, you are released into an environment where the normal rules and societal standards of engagement are temporarily suspended. The playa provides experiences that will snap you out of the way you thought life was, is, or should be. Want to send a postcard at the Post Office? OK, but you might have to do some cartwheels or tell the entire post office staff a good joke before they’ll take your mail. Nothing is impossible. At BIF, the same spirit prevails in the storytellers’ presentations and the conversations that happen over breaks and at dinner. I don’t have to be afraid of sharing crazy ideas with anyone in either group. I’m not shunned, looked at weird, or talked down. If anything, recommended refinements to my ideas will come with authenticity, insight, and a genuine feeling of support.
  • “Random Collisions of Unusual Suspects” (#RCUS using the tweetable parlance of Deb Mills-Scofield) is the norm in both environments. It is very difficult to wander around Burning Man without stumbling into unusual suspects (the guy who stopped traffic to give out hugs; the guy in the Superman costume who sprayed people with water so they could cool down; the people dancing with the giant jellyfish at White Ocean). BIF welcomes, with open arms, the same type of crowd but in different clothing (quite literally): the inspiring techno-matriarch, Deb Mills-Scofield (what I imagine Jane McGonigal will be like when she’s a grandmother — or as @sandymaxey beautifully observed, Deb is more like a “Fairy Godmother”), Amelia Friedman (who’s trying to help westerners learn widely used languages like Bengali), Evan Ratliff (who decided to create a story for Wired by “disappearing” – and then have people hunt for him), Jonathan Katz (who had a traumatic brain injury that wiped out his sense of taste and smell, and yet he works in a lab making new artificial flavors and scents!) and the girl who’s going to give me a numerology reading soon! OH!! And the guy wearing the nested alien suits at BIF. (Yeah, he would fit in well at Burning Man.)
  • At BIF and Burning Man, people tend towards non-judgment. In the “default world” it’s common to be criticized, ostracized, “tolerated” for your behaviors or beliefs, or (the worst case) expressly demonized, shunned, or outright excluded. At Burning Man, the principle of radical inclusion is honored as a core value of the community:

Burning Man is for absolutely everyone. Everyone. That’s what Radical Inclusion means. If you’re a starving artist, you should go. (if you want to, of course!) If you’re a plumber, you should go. If you’re a billionaire, you should go. If you’re a Saudi Prince that can only go if a turnkey camp is provided for you, please, please come. I’ll make you a sandwich. If you believe you’re a member of the class of people who actually deserve to be there, well then I definitely want you to keep going. One day, you’ll get it. Elitism in all forms distracts us from the truth of our common humanity.
— Dustin Moskovitz, inRadical Inclusion vs. Radical Self-Reliance at Burning Man

At BIF, I noticed that people tend to just naturally accept and honor differences – to get excited about differences, in fact – because if we’re different, we’ve got unique perspectives to share with one another! I met Jeffrey Sparr and Matthew Kaplan, for example, from PeaceLove Studios. They want to remove the stigma associated with mental illness so that people who need help are more receptive to getting it – and with support, can contribute their own gifts to society.

As a personal example, after having a rather open and vulnerable conversation with Greg Satell and his wife Liliana over beer and oysters (where I shared some things about myself that I ordinarily would be completely hesistant to admit to anyone) — Greg’s body language told me he was clearly a little bit uncomfortable. For a moment, I thought I’d misjudged the openness of the BIF crowd. I started to feel hesitant, weak, as if I’d miscalculated and really shouldn’t be making myself vulnerable. But then he spoke up: “Well, I can’t say I feel the same way for me, but if that’s what works for YOU – I’m glad you’ve figured out a way to make it happen.”

Greg’s response, for me, encapsulated the secret sauce of BIF, of Burning Man, and of transformation in general… which I’ll talk more about in a day or two in Part II.

(Ahhhhhhh… the anticipation! Yes, I’m doing this on purpose.)

Continue to Part II —->

Expressing Your Needs

This is me. I have NEEDS! I just need to get better at expressing them.

This is me. I have NEEDS! I just need to get better at expressing them.

Achieving quality (re: ISO 9000 para 3.1.5) is all about meeting stated and implied needs.

But our society has conditioned us not to freely express our needs to friends, family, and others; after all, if we need something, the marketing should have worked already, and we should know where we can go to willingly exchange currency for the means to satisfy that need. And Google is always happy to help us find new places to buy things.

But in a gift economy, open expression of needs is critical. When I was at Burning Man, it became habit to express my needs at any given time. After all, if I needed something, I relied on my network to pass the message along – and ultimately connect me with the people who could help me out with the resources that I needed. (I found a great pair of knee socks this way. I gave away a beautiful black jingly bra, several rolls of toilet paper, several gallons of water, and a giant canister of naphtha gas this way.)

Steve Pavlina points out that there is probably a vast audience of potential partners and co-creators who, at any time, are ready and willing (and happy!) to meet your needs. It’s just that you haven’t broadcast those needs and so the people who would be happy to help you meet them are still in the dark. No one knows you have those needs, so no one can say hey! I’ve got gifts that will help you meet those needs.

How often do you have genuine needs in your workplace, or your life – and it’s very likely that others could help you meet those needs – but you just have NO clue how to find people that can help out? Or maybe you just don’t know how to start the conversations? Or maybe you’d like to ask, but you get into self-defeating spirals where the voice on the inside of your head is telling you they probably don’t have the time… you don’t want to be an inconvenience… you don’t want anyone to feel taken advantage of… you don’t want to impose on anyone.

It feels very awkward to express that you would really like help or support from someone else. It feels weak, maybe. But that default feeling of weakness or not-enough-ness is NOT REAL. It’s just what we’re conditioned to believe is true because of the effect marketing — and the consumer-driven economy — has had on us since birth.

I have needs too, and I don’t know how to find people that will help me meet my needs. I am VERY happy to help them meet THEIR needs. So the first step is for me to start getting comfortable with expressing my needs – and being open to the people who will show up to help meet them. For starters, here are some of my needs:

  • I need someone to cut my hair across the back every month or two – straight across! – which I don’t think merits the $30 fee most salons charge. It takes 5 minutes from anyone who has a steady hand and a pair of scissors. (I can provide the scissors). Usually I get my mom to do it, but she’s several hours’ drive away. And I desperately need a cut. I would love to trade anything – or help with your statistics homework – for a straight-across cut.
  • On the same thread, I’d like to find someone who will henna the underside of my hair. My friends and I used to henna each other all the time in high school and college. Now, I have no henna friends… and a head in need of rainbow flavors about every 3 months.
  • I need non-aloof “girlfriends” (can be any gender) to share mutually beneficial great ideas, pointless and short-lived whining, and happy hours with. This is not to imply that my current suite of friends and confidants is inadequate in any way – I just want to make sure the supply of these people is large and diverse enough so that I can tap into it whenever I need to.
  • I need a photographer (preferably in consultation with “girlfriends” who can dress me up) to take headshots for blog + future journal articles. Preferably including dragons and/or some sort of flame throwing or fire breathing (which is why I can’t get the creative services department at work to do it – no dragons, no fire). Because, you know, I like things like that.
  • I need artsy Burner-type friends in Harrisonburg who want to create a “virtual commune” with me. We can share resources and moral support. If you have a venue where we can all get together and spin fire occasionally, that would not be bad either.
  • I need a regular Wednesday afternoon/evening babysitter for my 8 yr old. Must be totally trusted source (so I need to have known you for a while).
  • I need an occasional Monday afternoon/evening and random wildcard afternoon/evening babysitter for my 8 yr old.
  • I need someone in Harrisonburg to refer me to a great family physician or osteopath who will give me what I need to manage chronic sciatica – the result of a injury from surgery over 10 years ago. I’ve been to my old family doctor and several chiropractors already. No one has a solution – the doctor says I’m too young to be feeling like this (you’re right!! I AM!!) and the chiropractors swear they can fix me, but so far, they have only made it worse. As a result I live in almost constant background pain, and it interferes with my ability to think.
  • It would be great to have someone to massage my sore right foot. I have at least one person who will do it, but I feel bad asking, and he’s always working. I say “massage” – but what I really mean is “press that spot on the top of my right foot that releases the pain in my head really hard“. 
  • I need someone to help me grocery shop, cook, and eat healthy. In exchange, I’ll support your grocery-purchasing needs (after all, if you’re cooking for me, you might as well be cooking for YOU too!) I just need instructions, because I am helpless at the grocery store (the site of many panic attacks) and overwhelmed by the entire prospect of eating – which is why, when left to my own devices, I just don’t eat. There are too many possibilities. Note: Cooking partner has probably been identified – within hours of expressing this need.
  • I need someone to force me to go to Bikram Yoga Harrisonburg at least several times a week. Note: This will depend on getting adequate and reliable childcare. Maybe you need someone to force you to go to yoga too. Want to team up and make it happen???

Help??

And more importantly – how I can help YOU?

When Your Ideas are Met With Resistance

bm-survivalHas anyone ever opposed your ideas? Punctuated your plans? (This could be something you’ve experienced at work, or just in the regular course of life.)

Has anyone encouraged you (subtly or not so subtly) to remain entrenched in the status quo? To not “rock the boat”?

Yeah, me too.

Usually, when people question my ideas, plans, or approach – I’ll step back. I don’t want to be perceived as pushy, or aggressive, or anything other than basically nice and considerate of other peoples’ positions and feelings. I like to work in the shadowy background, producing what is meaningful to me, while others focus on what is meaningful to them – never the two paths to meet. If I’m working on projects or products for clients or customers, I defer to them entirely – using my experience or expertise only to guide or inform the process of discovery. I don’t like conflict, but when I do, I’d rather it’s between two OTHER people or organizations – and I’m just in the middle as the broker, attempting to fuse the two positions into a cohesive and mutually agreeable vision.

Sometimes, though, you can’t avoid being one of the parties in conflict – and as a result, today I discovered the blessing of opposition.

In the Summer 2004 issue of Journal for Quality and Participation, Thomas Berstene discussed “The Inexorable Link Between Conflict and Change” — explaining how conflict can facilitate transformation, that is, “the passing from one place, state, form, or phase to another.” He notes how every organization has examples of how constructive conflict can lead to positive transformation, if that conflict is honored for its potential value. Most significantly, he describes the cultivation of power as a means to resolve conflict, by “achieving self-interests without inflicting force on others.”

Cultivating power requires four things:

  • Authenticity. Being totally, completely, unabashedly true to your own needs, desires, and aspirations.
  • Synergy. Cultivating relationships so that you can work in harmony with (most, if not all) others.
  • Inner Strength. A sense of calm, and a higher level of peace and resourcefulness – you know you can come to a positive conclusion!
  • Quality of Being. The “experience of joy, ease, and serenity that derive from identification with one’s authentic Self” which renders these individuals “able to focus their attention on the current situation without dragging in history or resisting what might happen.”

I just got back from Burning Man (more on that later – MUCH more, in fact) so I’m nestled firmly in the womb of my power. All of the cobwebs that have clouded my mind and psyche for the past five years have been whisked away. I’m calm. I trust.

I’m unwilling to be anything other than true to myself right now. There’s just not enough time in this life to be otherwise.

And from this vantage point, I’ve discovered the blessing of opposition!

Today, it became pretty clear that some projects that are important to me are experiencing some resistance from others. That’s OK – maybe they don’t understand why my projects are so important to me. Maybe I can explain it to them. Maybe I’ll never be able to.

But instead of stepping back, this opposition unexpectedly, unashamedly rebirthed the dragon in me.

The opposition to my approach quickly – and with tsunamis of emotion – clarified, for me, what I believe in – the essence of what I think is really important.

And now I know what I believe. I think I knew it before, but now my gut knows it, and my body is ready to live it. I’m committed to what I believe. I’m willing to give up everything to follow what I believe.

And that’s what makes today starkly different — and entirely more colorful — than the potentials I embodied yesterday.

Authenticity, Radical Self-Expression, and Pull Innovation

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Image Credit: Doug Buckley of http://hyperactive.to

John Hagel (@jhagel) is probably my best source of inspired news right now. It’s almost like he’s in my head daily… thinking about the various aspects of institutional innovation, and how to create environments that are ripe for learning, and unexpected bounty, and the liberation of the human spirit through what we used to call “work”.

Today, he tweeted about an article in Fast Company by Linda Tischler (“Joi Ito’s Plan for Urban Innovation: ‘Let a Thousand Weirdos Bloom‘”). You can read the full article at the link; I just wanted to quickly highlight one of the article’s quotes-in-large-fonts below which (as intended, no doubt) caught my eye.

This article is about planting the seeds for a dynamic innovation culture, something that many cities are attempting to plan and/or do to stimulate growth. Ito argues that innovation won’t – and shouldn’t – wait for planning and infrastructure development… if a group of people can come together, figure out what they need, find ways to get what they need, and then go realize their ideas… that’s the recipe for emergent innovation. It’s also the main message of Hagel’s 2010 book, The Power of Pull. (I am a firm believer in pull, and design all of my university courses and syllabi based on this notion.)

So here’s Ito’s quote:

Find your own weirdos,

and figure out how to amplify them.

So to innovate, you need to find these people! But here’s the catch: the word weirdo. Who are weirdos? We need to know who they are to be able to find them! Is it just people who are different than us… people who are “diverse”? Is the weirdo the girl who wears crazy clothes and has blue hair, or the guy who’s decided to become an Asatru priest, or the evangelical Christian who doesn’t smoke, drink, or dance? Are YOU a weirdo?

In my case, yes, I think I’m a weirdo. I’m not pretending that I think I’ve grown up, even though I’m now 37 and have family and job responsibilities. I like chasing tornadoes, collecting hot springs, and playing with poi… and this summer, I want to learn some circus acrobatics and partner-stunt yoga (which seems way more exciting than regular yoga). My kid’s friends’ moms have jobs and cook and use Pinterest for recipes. We don’t really have much to talk about or common interests, so I assume this means I am a weirdo. Some relatives even talk behind my back, probably with raised eyebrows, about how weird I am. But I could be a much weirder weirdo. For example, I really like wearing fishnet stockings and knee high boots (not gaudy ones, mind you… totally respectable ones) but I wouldn’t wear them to work for fear that other people would think I am weirder than I actually am, and maybe look down on me for it.

Some of my friends do not think I am a weirdo at all. Of course, I have other friends and acquaintances who are way more weirdo than me (like the girl who I’ve met several times, but have never seen without stilts). Perhaps they are comparing me to the weirder weirdos.

But!! Everyone is a “weirdo” – it’s just that we’ve been taught not to be loud about our weirdoness, and not to openly share our hidden interests, desires, and talents. It’s a real shame. Even I struggle with the fear of radical self-expression, because it hurts not to be accepted – or worse, to be considered unprofessional. Can you believe it? Yes, if I wore a dragon costume to work one day, the other professors would certainly question my sanity and professionalism. And so I don’t wear one. But shouldn’t I be able to? Shouldn’t I be free enough to boldly and creatively express myself without fear of disapproval or recrimination?

That’s one of the reasons that I so love and honor the principle of radical self-expression. In admitting that I honor it, I’m challenging myself every day to look for ways to express myself, and to combat the fear of being me in a world of other people who are, undoubtedly, all normal.

But I have to be free to be me if I’m going to be a high-powered, innovative contributor. AND SO DO YOU. I would love to meet your weirdo side, the one with the skills and abilities and interests and talents that might not be socially or professionally acceptable. They’re part of YOU. And we have to meet each other on this authentic level before we can CREATE COOL STUFF together… and be PRODUCTIVE at it.

Find your own weirdos: Start looking at all the people around you in a different light. They all have something valuable to contribute… that might have nothing to do with their job title or responsibilities. They might be afraid to expose their vulnerability, and let you know what they can REALLY provide.

Figure out how to amplify them: Help your co-conspirators be comfortable with their radical self-expression. And to do this, the best thing YOU can do is learn how to be comfortable with your own. I’m not saying it’s easy… I’m just saying you should try. Daily.

I won’t comment on this other large-font quote in Tischler’s article, but you’ll probably be able to guess how I feel about it now:

The barrier now isn’t lack of money, it’s lack of permission.

(Whose permission are you lacking?)

Become an Innovator by Embracing Your Gifts

doug-road(Image Credit: Doug Buckley of http://hyperactive.to)

You can’t be anyone you want to be.

To become your most powerful, you have to fully become WHO YOU ARE.

(Umar Haque posted a similar sentiment on the Harvard Business Review blog in 2011.)

“Don’t want to be the best in the world at what you do. Be the only one who does what you do.” — Jerry Garcia

This is not always easy. People are changing. Situations are changing. Environments are changing – constantly, and without fail. And since we have to deal with so many messages from the outside world about who and what it thinks we should be — and become — it should not be surprising during the times when it feels like a struggle. Plus, what if WHO YOU ARE challenges the mainstream notion of what’s right or good? This makes fully becoming WHO YOU ARE even more frightening. 

But the more I reflect on it, the more I think that embracing your unique gifts is the key to becoming an innovator. When you find or create a safe space in which can can take risks to uncover and unleash who you are, you creative potential blazes. But sometimes those safe spaces are hard to come by… so what are we going to do about it?

Innovation, Lakota Style

doug-feb1(Image Credit: Doug Buckley of http://hyperactive.to)

Right now, I’m reading Archie Fire Lame Deer‘s personal history in Gift of Power. I lived in Rapid City for a short time in the late 1990’s, and I’m particularly attracted to the Lakota culture, and the Black Hills and Badlands that are so integral to it. Archie, who died in 2001, became a Lakota spiritual leader after a wild and checkered early life as a hellraiser and Hollywood stuntman. He says:

When a young man learning to be a pejuta wichasa [one type of medicine man] asks my advice, I tell him “Be humble. Accept failure. This is part of being a medicine man. Be aware of the negative and positive in everything. Don’t trust in your own little power, but try to unite many powers into one. And have patience. When you pick one herb among a clump of its own kind, don’t be hasty. Feel. Listen. Then pick the herb that responds to you and gives you a good feeling. If you don’t have the sixth sense to communicate with that one herb, stop right there. Stop trying to be a healer. Become a car salesman or a lawyer.”

To me, this reads like an ancient guidebook for being an innovator:

  • Be humble. Accept failure. You don’t know all the answers. You don’t need to.
  • Be aware of the negative and positive in everything. There is no black and white… your job is to recognize as many of the shades of the spectrum in between… without judgment. And to help others see those possibilities too.
  • Don’t trust in your own power. True innovation, that connects ideas with a context of use where value can be realized, is the product of an interconnected network of people, their thoughts, and their ideas – and the network might even stretch back into history.
  • Try to unite many powers into one. Combine and recombine ideas. Bring the powers together in new ways.
  • Have patience. Everyone knows how great ideas and solutions emerge when you’re in the shower, or relaxing, or doing something other than pushing forward really hard.
  • Feel. Listen. To things people say, and things they don’t say. Data is important, but so is intuition. (Don’t believe me? Just check out some of the academic research on intuition in management, or Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.)
  • Pick the herb that responds to you and gives you a good feeling. Today’s modern herbs are thoughts, tools, technologies, concepts, and disciplines. Find the tools that you resonate with… the ones that make sense to you, the ones that give you a good feeling. Spend time learning what appeals to you.
  • If you don’t have the sixth sense to communicate with a modern herb, stop right there. Do something else. Moving on is not a failure, but a powerful recognition that you’re on a path to connect with the tools and technologies and ideas that YOU are most powerfully connected with… that you can do something truly magical with.

The more I read this book, the more I can see that the path of the medicine man is one of lifelong learning, one that’s centered around learning how to add value to one’s community — and helping others connect with themselves so that they can accomplish the same.

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