Is Our Innovation Cycle Backward?


It came to me in a dream last night, that there was something puttha, or lefthanded, counter-cyclical, apa-pradakshina about this whole innovation business. The whole world just wants to get on with the business of len-den, transactional business, or even to accelerate whatever is already going on, expand it to new markets or incorporate rivals and so forth into the regular way of doing things, and our job is to make them stop. Rethink everything they are doing. Trace out the ties between means and ends, untie them, retie those elements together in another. All of this is exactly the opposite of the normal course, the conventional way of the world, its pradakshina.

For several years now, we have represented the innovation cycle as a circle with three component arcs. We’ve even described these arcs as meeting at three cardinal points: Twelve O’Clock, Four O’Clock, Eight O’Clock. And time, as we know, always runs clockwise.

But innovation processes don’t, or don’t necessarily. They first stop time, and then trace down the hidden meanings behind the flow of existing processes in time. In this sense, innovation processes might be better conceptualized and represented as running in the opposite direction to the regular flow of time in the world.

If there are no objections, we’re going to be inverting our innovation cycle laterally, to reflect this thinking.

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