I decided to hop on the TED website this morning because it has been a long while since I was stirred up by that web site. As always, I was not disappointed. This video of where new ideas come from by Steven Johnson is totally worth listening to.
But it has an application to those of us who are trying to innovate new ways of being on mission. He bemoans the fact that most innovative ideas are shrouded in the myth of what some call the "eureka moment." That is, the lone individual off by themselves having a stroke of genius or an epiphany. These great ideas are actually a result of that person being a part of what he calls a "liquid network." They do not originate in isolation, but often over extended periods of time, in spaces or environments that foster connections between varying people with varying perspectives. In other words, the lone innovator is a myth. It happens in the context of a community of people who are trying to innovate themselves. Sharing failures, new insights, and genuinely communicating about what we have encountered fuels the innovation process. This is important to know because we often think we come with the idea, then stop thinking and implement the idea. In actuality, the original idea may just be one idea of a long string of other ideas that unfold along the way and help enrich, extend and evolve the original idea. Innovation is a process, which means one big idea is not enough. You have to pull back from the process of innovating, keep brainstorming, keep ideation going, if your idea is going to be all it can be.
We have been experimenting with a way of being on mission in Ikon called The Harvest Network, and quite honestly, we have not had enough times of pulling back and re-engaging the idea with different people in creative spaces. This video has stirred me up to re-engage that process again.