The Ape in the Innovation Room
Every day another technology, AI, robotic or virtual reality topic makes the news. All seem to originate from extremist view, a polarized cultural perspective that views technology as the most hallowed contributor of progress in our time. Technology has become the dominant alpha.
The way we think, imagine, create and see the world has become partial, limited, incremental and commoditized. Many of above technologies fit, fixate, extend or elucidate that same world view.
There’s no doubt that some of these products will go forward to radically different futures and purposes by adaptation, once they become rationalized by the market of gender, taste, culture, purpose and human aspiration and imagination. Or they’ll be diluted by other products and services that serve up an opposing view of reality and desire.
So there is a deep chasm and schism to navigate.
The fundamental problem is that we have not organically changed the way we think, feel and view the world.
Our mass cognition is a monoculture, one that is very surface oriented, very material. Nearly everything we create arises from a lean or critical thinking view of profitability, sustainability and meaningfulness. We seem to have machined and refined hunter gathering behaviour to create technological agriculture without consideration for environmental or species consciousness.
What’s missing from this view is access to a deeper substrate of human experience, one that extends our deep cognition to the level where we can perceive a different possibilities. This is where wiser and more viable paradigms have their birth.
Certainly our geniuses, Einstein, Tesla, others, have gone there.
Shallow consumption and shallow thinking are non-sustainable and ultimately self-exterminating.
There is a level of mass produced conversation and economic speculation about deep cognition in machine learning and artificial intelligence that seems to want to choke off alternatives. The prevailing view is that no infobit shall remain unturned and insights are gathered into every literal data crevice. Presumptions about their significance will be digested and concluded by algorithms and done primarily by machines. And privacy be damned by the way.
But my sense is that we’ve stopped short of looking into the mirror at our own cohesive shallowness. This is still the predominant culture in most organizations.
We’ve become the ape in the innovation room.
Even in innovation itself. Most organizations have a tendency to be continually breathing out, managing processes or developing outputs. There seems to exist little or no breathing in, reflection, enjoyment or pleasure. This seems to be the hapless result of our speedy time. Consequently innovation is more like forced construction than creation. Unfortunately that is a road to depletion, both for ourselves and our resources.
But there is an inward route that is ecologically ripe for our exploration. It is not the deep cognition of machines that will create our future. It is our own.
What is deep cognition? It is the state of cohesive mind/heart entrainment in human experience — a wholeness state. It is when both our minds and our hearts in balance are involved – where thinking meets feeling and something new evolves – purpose.
Mindfulness is the first entry gate to being present. Beyond presence there is a deeper kind of awareness, a wholeness experience where our state of existence is more complete and has more space for creative experience and for each other.
Embarking into our own deep cognition will forever change us and the future. Intuition, imagination and vision become more visible and frequent in this state. It will enable us to perceive and inform ourselves with new ideas that are more whole and more centered on quality of our lives and future, rather than the quantity of our lives and future, as is the current predominant root theme. As a result, our solutions, products, devices and UX will be radically different.
A massive shift is required for companies to survive and thrive in a more creative culture, which is the world we live in today. They need to move from a lean productivity formula to become places where innovation culture thrives. In order to do this, the balance sheet needs to change. It needs to move from cost cutting and value preservation to finding ways to create new and more meaningful value. Companies must invest.
They need to nurture and culture people so they can be creative. They need to provide a different ambiance with less pressure and give people more space to create, investing in spirit, in feelings, in ideas.
Merely championing and managing innovation does not go deeply enough. Human beings need to breathe. There is both an in-breath and an outbreath. The first is what sustains the latter and it is a feminine process – reflecting, holding space, looking into the unknown, gathering intuition, insight and energy for the creative process & understanding the deeper nature of complex issues & problems and needs.
We need to take the best of what we are individually and elevate that to create together. People need to be inspired, think and feel to perform, and organizations need to train, engage deeper vision, purpose, and practice in order to do that well in new ways.
As will divisions between them/us, gender, race and culture. Because we are one team, one family, one humanity. And we have not dared enough of ourselves to change the limited critical thinking view that is the hallmark of our age and the result of our education system.
We are artists and scientists, male and female and, creators and observers.
Dare we? This is the disruption that festers on right in the face of our technology vanity.
If we don’t that virtual speck of dust on the windshield of our future may be ourselves.
What do you think? What can we do to change this?