We often say
that the journey of innovation
is a journey of not knowing.
often starts with a fragile feeling
that “there’s something here.”
We don’t know what that is
But if someone asks us
“Is it this?”
We confidently answer
“No, that’s not it.”
Because, we do know
what it is not.
the journey of innovation
“Maybe it’s this,”
and “Nope, that’s not it,”
until it becomes clear
what it was you were after
but could not express.
this does not mean
you know nothing
or that you’re crazy.
May we not let others
convince us otherwise.
Several years back,
I visited a private high school.
I did a workshop
where the students sketched
a blueprint of the kind of relationship
they wished to have
with their teachers
such that the teachers could more effectively
help them learn, create, grow, and mature.
The keyword they used
to sum up their sketch
was “being there.”
The students wanted teachers
who were willing to “be there” for them.
I then asked the students
to raise their hand
if they already had this kind of relationship.
2 out of ~40 students raised their hand.
After this incident,
it become a priority for me
to form this kind of relationship,
with those whom I have committed
to help learn, create, grow, and mature.
I’m grateful for this lesson
from those students.
Manipulation involves the desire
to move someone or something
to a place or state the manipulator envisions or expects.
This is not to judge manipulation as good/bad or right/wrong.
Through mutual agreement & rationalization,
one can differentiate between transparent vs. surreptitious,
well vs. ill-intended, manipulation.
A magic show
can be thought of as transparent manipulation.
Feeding kids hidden veges
can be thought of as well-intended manipulation.
In some sense,
the opposite of manipulation is creation.
Because creation involves the desire
at a place or state the creator did not envision or expect.
Tolerating isn’t sustainable.
There are workshops that teach listening
as a collection of techniques,
Even if you do all of that,
if internally you’re merely tolerating the experience,
you can feel drained
You may even feel like you’re engaged in “emotional labor.”
That’s a recipe for burn-out and resentment.
is a practice of making new value from what we perceive.
It’s not a technique,
but rather a skill that naturally emerges
from a shift in our perception.
especially those trained in the traditional crafts
learn to respect by actively perceiving value in the mundane
Once we learn to respect,
What we perceive in the world
can energize us,
so much so that we may be so immersed in the art of respecting,
that we forget to eat.
Innovation does not solve problems.
It only has the potential to do so.
Say I produced an innovative vacuum cleaner,
If the problem is a dirty house,
unless someone uses the innovation repeatedly,
Innovation creates unexpected choices we didn’t perceive to have,
Problem solving uses existing choices to achieve an expected result.
Problem solving gets stuck
when we lack the requisite variety of choices
to achieve our expected result.
when we’re stuck,
we need to temporarily put aside problem solving
in favor of innovation
to first increase the variety of our choices.
Sometimes innovation even helps us realize
that what we considered a problem is not,
and the problem vanishes
We play “designer,”
when we act to fulfill an emotional need.
Wish to fulfill your need for communication with those far away?
Play “designer” to design a mail system.
We play “judge,”
when we blame someone.
Wish to label someone at fault?
Play “judge” to peruse the evidence & make a decision.
We may play them well or poorly,
but once we become aware of these roles,
they are available for our choosing
from moment to moment,
even if they’re not on our business cards.
The question is “What role do we want to play?”
Whatever our answer,
it’ll profoundly affect our sense of identity.
The sense of who we are,
from where our thoughts & behaviors
will naturally flow,
at least temporarily.
To empathize with the familiar,
all we need is to have empathy
before we can realize empathy.
But artists empathize with the unfamiliar,
So do anthropologists.
For them, having empathy is insufficient.
They need to be able to realize empathy,
when it doesn’t do so automatically.
This requires the mercy
of the creative process.
But, just as martial artists cannot will her victory,
we cannot will a realization.
Just as martial artists can only practice
to increase her probability of victory,
We can only practice to increase our probability
Except our end isn’t mere victory,
This is a Janusian Art,
as Martial is from the Roman God of war, Mars,
and Janusian is from the Roman God of transition, Janus.
Here’s something I learned from carpentry.
Wood is wood.
No matter my desire,
it’ll never be metal.
If I must only use wood
to make furniture,
I have no choice, but to
listen to, and
consider its context.
This is not because I’m a good moral person.
It’s just physics.
This doesn’t mean we should do as the wood tells us, though.
In fact, woods don’t speak!
It just reacts to our behavior.
To realize our empathy is to
be creative in our response to the reaction of an “other,”
so as to flow with them,
It’s when we’re in such state of togetherness
that we can use our power
with each other,
against each other.
Physicist Richard Feynman once said,
“Paradox is only a conflict between
Our feeling of what reality ought to be.”
Tension is a conflict between
What we have.
What we need, value, or expect
Let us notice the remarkable similarity between the two.
We can either judge tension as “bad,”
So as to frame it as a “problem.”
We can let it evoke our curiosity and wonder
So as to frame it as a “paradox.”
The choice can be ours.