Appreciative Approach to Innovation

When the different aspects of you are in disharmony your experience of life is fragmented. In this state all you are able to do is survive, cope and manage the status-quo in a more or less ad-hoc manner. Attention and energy go into trying to create order and fielding the unrelenting demands and challenges of everyday life as circumstances unfold. What you create when you only have some of the required ingredients and necessary skills is at best functional and mediocre, at worst defective.

Innovation and creativity depends on optimal timing, pacing and the harmony and counterpoint of diverse aspects of human experience. Consider the speed of relationship against the pace of business; the rapidity of hurt, the timing of apology and slowness of recovery and the readiness to forgive.  Similarly, the urgency of lust, balanced against the pace of building trust. Often you have strong thoughts on an issue but not know how you feel about it. You have an intuition but not the inner sense of security or self-belief to trust and follow through on the message. You can act without thinking or feeling, or act on a feeling without thinking the matter through. Your mind may be one place, your heart somewhere else and your actions in yet another realm altogether. You might have talent but no motivation, or inspiration but the wisdom of timing and packaging eludes you.

Sparkling moments of creativity occur when all your thoughts, feelings, intuition and inspiration show up at the same place at the right time. When your talent, wisdom, skilfulness and creativity join in and hone the mix, conception takes place and great innovation is born. It is these moments that are referred to poetically as “being in the flow”.

Hosting diverse experience starts with seeing the pictures, hearing the voices and sensing the intuitions of your own inner experience. Tuning into the signals and meanings that you receive from others stimulates your own and their inner richness and resourcefulness.  This requires being fully alive.

The ability and capacity to host your own inner experiences in ways that allow the time needed for different facets of experience to come together is essential for real creative brilliance to emerge. The capacity to host these facets of your own and the creative experience of others is essential to having creative team and partnership relationships. It takes mindfulness to maintain ongoing awareness of the directions in which hearts, heads and desires to act or avoid action are pulling.

To manage and create environments that stimulate and support innovation, you need to become a masterful host. This entails developing the expansiveness to allow people to experience their own reality in an environment of empathy, respect and appreciation. It requires, in the short term, developing sufficient compassion to allow the working through of doubt, fear or even pain. In the long run it demands patience so that you can allow the time needed for maturity and self-confidence to happen. Environments that incubate innovation need to have built in the safety and respect to allow people to develop and evolve their judgement and decision making skills at their own pace.

To achieve the creative state you need to cultivate having the eyes of a child that are always seeing the world afresh. Ask the obvious but often missed questions. Notice what the blasé, complacent or jaded adults miss. Appreciating the beauty and magic and inspiration in the everyday, ordinary and the taken for granted. Pay attention to and engage simultaneously the novel and unexpected perception and dreamscapes of the child, with the wisdom and experience of the old person. Cultivate the expansiveness and openness to hold a space where you can support others while your respective inner experiences become aligned and catalytically transform into effective and appropriate action.  Most importantly you need to show up in a wholehearted way and invite the people around you to join in the creation of magic.


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