Monday, March 9, 2015

Innovation Requires Being Innovative

We need innovation. The usual way of doing business is killing us. We need more quality in life, more time to ourselves. One example is the less than five, or six day work week, the less than ten or eight hour day. Here is an example from Salon magazine that I've been calling for going on decades now: 5 Reasons it's time for a Four Day Work Week.And no, not ten our days but four day work weeks and six hour days. One mentioned in this article was calling for three day work weeks but hey, I'm reasonable.

What's holding America back from advancing into the future with innovation and progressive forethought? According to (myself and) Robert Reich, corporations (big surprise, right?). Even Henry Ford believed he needed to pay his workers enough to afford the products they were producing. Corporations today are pushing to squeeze every last dollar in a counter-intuitive effort to simply take every last dollar.

As if one day soon, there will simply be no more money. And there won't, if they keep taking it all for themselves and their shareholders.

Diana Kander at a TEDxKC titled, Our approach to innovation is dead wrong, talks about her experiences in martial arts. I had my own experiences through the martial arts. When I was a kid taking Isshinryu Karate, we fought in tournaments and we kept losing. Why? Because we were trained to kill quickly in our style.

Budokan was a local style around the Pacific Northwest that was consistently beating us in tournaments. It's Karate Ka strutted around like they had the better martial art, when we knew we were the better style. So why did they hold that position?

It was because they could beat is in a controlled environment, and that their style was perfect for tournament style fighting. But on the street, in a life and death situation, I would give it to us.

This situation simmered for some time until a Tacoma tournament...

During the finals, the main event was between our heavyweight fighter and theirs. The fight happened, it was a good fight, then finally our guy had had it and pulled out all stops. There guy ended up going to the hospital.

Finally we had proven that if we were pushed, we could clean the mats with these guys. There was no more question, no more strutting around town and no more claims of their being better. But to be fair, the black belts all started saying it was not something that should have ever started up in the first place and they felt bad about what had happened.

Especially our black belt who had won that fight. He had let it get to him too. It had been a brutal fight.

I remember being one of the last people at the tournament, after the finals night was over. The field house was almost empty, they were starting to turn off lights, two of the other style's black belts were walking the loser from the main event out, between the two of them as he couldn't walk out well on his own. He was hunched over a bit and walked slowly from the three rapid fire punches he had received in the chest and that had ended the fight.

We see similar things in schools where we are trained not for real life but a specialized view of real life. Then when we sometimes fight back, we feel bad about it. If we had been trained for the real world in the first place, we have to hold back because we can't do otherwise in a controlled environment.

Life usually doesn't set us up for it properly. Life is usually different than what you expect when it happens to you. So we need to be versatile, creative, ingenious and compassionate in all the right places and against all odds.

It's not that easy and much of the burden is laid upon us when it could have been corrected by those whose charge we had been placed in, in the first place. One of the things that could help us along our way is actively enhancing the quality of life for everyone and not just the rich elite few and those at the top of corporations and... nations.

By this point in human development and history we should be turning our thoughts to increasing luxury time wherever possible for recreation, the arts and sciences. We are wasting so much human endeavors on corporations when we need to be expending it on humanity.

The more luxury personal time people have the more people will turn to innovation, rather than spending all our time decompressing from work, work, work always worried about money and working. Part of the reason we don't have money, don't have enough personal time, is how we have been pushed down as a race of beings (at least in the so called first and second world countries) to where we have to work more and more for less and less for the fewer and fewer in control of all of us.

Guesswork, guts, instinct, all these things we need to cultivate before we need them, along with the teaching and training we receive, whether we want it or not in the course of our growing up and throughout our lives. We need the time to expand on these things and we can't do it if we are always working and always under duress from work, bills and lack of personal space and time.

When we do need to act in using those types of things, we need not to go into shock, but to act. To act appropriately for whatever the situation is which will most likely not be what we were trained for. But instead we have too little time to do anything but stew in our own juices, to stress, to see only the crest of the next hill and not over it into the next valley.

So be ready. Be ready for what will actually happen, and not necessarily what you were trained to expect to have happen. And strive to push those in charge to give us more and not trick us into thanking them for giving us less and less.

And best of luck.

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