As a child, my parents would say “Cindy you wear rose colored glasses.”  It was meant as a compliment and a commentary on how naive I was, not seeing the world for its bumps and bruises.

I think innovation is rose-colored. It requires seeing possibility and expecting more than what is.  While innovators are characteristically dissatisfied with the status quo, they are often a very optimistic group that believes we can do better.

“There is a way.”  “What if we…?”  “How might we…?”  “Why not?” 

These are the words of people with optimism who see the world with a rose hue.

Recently, I read a book recommended to me from another innovative soul, Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential by Shirzad Chamine.  He explores PQ (positivity quotient) which works in concert with our EQ and IQ. He explores how people who achieve their potential are adept at quieting their inner Saboteurs and strengthening their Sages.

  • Saboteurs are Judging, Perfectionism, Pleasing, Hyper-Achievement, Victim Mentality, Hyper-Rationality, Hyper-Vigilence, Restlessness, Contol, Avoidance.
  • Sages are Empathy, Exploration, Innovation, Navigation(alignment of purpose), Activation
As I read the book and considered the author’s exercises, I was struck how so much of what we do in design thinking is helping teams quiet their Saboteurs (via low res prototype, non-judging, possibility thinking) and encourage their Sages (via empathy, exploration, activation) Innovation is a possibility activity and requires positivity.  I have often described design thinking as a “positive addiction”, as people are compelled by the activity and feel so much more empowered and optimistic at the end that they want to keep on doing it.  Design thinking is doing much more than coming up with a new solution. It is restoring a person and empowering their Sage.
Something to think about…Innovation requires rose colored optimism and positivity.

Take Action

Consider your normal mode of operation.  Are you positive and optimistic, seeing possibilities for the future?  Where do you think your PQ is?  Are you in shape to innovate?  Pay attention to your inner voice.  If it is telling all the reasons why it will never work, you might want to read Chamine’s book to see if you can develop your innovation capacity via improving your PQ.
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