Innovation has displaced quality as the standard for differentiation. Innovation is the only sustainable competitive advantage. Innovation is a necessity for continued existence, and is vital to any organization's success.
Innovation has always been a primary challenge of leadership. Yet the human capacity to invent and create is universal. Look around you and notice that your colleagues and neighbours share a common behaviour; they try to make some small contribution to help other people. Ours is a living world of continuous creation and infinite variation.
We cannot cope, much less create, in this increasingly fast and turbulent world without each other. If we try to do it alone, we will fail. There is no substitute for human creativity, human caring, human will. The path to more creative and innovative workplaces and communities is to depend more on each other.
We've been treating people as machines. We've told people what to do and how to behave. We've told them that they are not creative, can't make a difference and can't think. Very few people go through life as robots, doing only repetitive tasks. It's impossible to extinguish the human spirit. Change the environment an change the possibilities. Develop working relationships of trust, where we do what we say, where we speak truthfully, where we refuse to act from petty self-interest. People who had been given up for dead in their organizations, once conditions change and they feel welcomed back, find new energy and become great innovators.
As leaders, as neighbours, as colleagues, it is time to turn to one another, to engage in the intentional search for human goodness. In our meetings and deliberation, we can reach out and invite in those we have excluded. We can recognize that no one person or leader has the answer. We need everybody's creativity to find our way through this strange New World. We are our only hope for creating a future worth working for. We can't go it alone, we can't get there without each other, and we can't create it without relying anew on our fundamental and precious human goodness.