Innovation Leadership for a Complex Adaptive World - Livestream

Invite to a Livestream Innovation Leadership for a Complex Adaptive World

We are flattered and fortunate to have been invite to a livestream broadcast on Innovation Leadership for a Complex Adaptive World by Christina Garidi of Eudaimonia Coaching UK. Christina helps people find purpose and meaning in their work which has intersected with and through creativity and innovation -- thus an ideal match for a live chat.

The conversation delves into innovation and creativity, and how it can be approached in dynamic and relational approaches rather than linear and ideation-based models. We discuss the importance of understanding the different disciplines and practices that shape innovation, and how it can be relevant to business leaders emphasizing the need for experimentation and shifting approaches to promote more effective and sustainable innovation.

It's a spirited chat followed by an engaged Q&A:

Transcript: Innovation Leadership for a Complex Adaptive World - Livestream

Note: Lightly edited for readability...

[00:00:00] Christina Garidi: We are live... I'm so happy to have Ian and Jason from New Jersey today. Thank you for connecting with us and being here with us today.

[00:00:09] Jason Frasca: Thanks for having us, Christina.

[00:00:11] Iain Kerr: Also great to be here.

[00:00:13] Christina Garidi: So I don't know if we have people joining yet, so we probably don't, but if you're hearing us on, Playback. Then put in the chat slowly and steadily where you're connecting from and what piqued your curiosity to come through.

But in the meanwhile we'll take the pleasure to introduce our guests. Ian Kerr. If I pronounce it correctly, I tried to the curve part, but I don't know if I did it properly. Is a designer and innovation researcher working at the intersection of creativity and ecology and emergent systems to make disruptive change possible.

His unique approach evolved from over 20 years plus experience of experimenting across different industries from the arts. to ecology. He co directs the Mix Lab at Montclair State University with Jason. Jason Praska is an entrepreneur focused on leveraging emerging technologies for meaningful social transformation and whose ventures have taken him into a wide variety of spaces from health to law.

I'm curious. His expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation led him to be hired as the first full time faculty for the Feliciano Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation among Clare State University, where these two guys have met where they co founded and co direct the Mix Lab, the campus innovation and research center.

I'd like to visit one day. So if anyone wants to visit, we can knock on their doors and say, hi, we're arrived.

[00:01:52] Iain Kerr: Anytime.

[00:01:53] Jason Frasca: We'd love to have you.

[00:01:53] Christina Garidi: Thank you. Lovely. So together you co founded Emerging Futures Lab, which is a strategic innovation consulting firm, and you've pioneered award winning innovation processes, frameworks, methods, tools, and practices to help organizations build resilient and adaptable ecosystems that foster spontaneous.

Organic and groundbreaking innovation. Who's interested? Show us on the chat if you'd love to learn from these two amazing people we have with us today. I want to see some movement on the chat if we can, if you're here, say hi. I can see six people have joined. So meanwhile, why are you saying hi? I would like to also introduce myself so that who's posting, I am Christina.

I'm a purpose and career coach, and I have founded eudaimonia, which is a Greek word. And I am on a mission to democratize human flourishing. I coach ambitious professionals to decode their purpose and find career alignment. And I introduced the eudaimonia success model in 2018 globally as a TEDx speaker.

I am writing my book on how to access the eudaimonic state of mind. You might be wondering, what does eudaimonia have to do with innovation, leadership, and creativity in a complex, adaptive world? Let's find out, shall we? We've got Isabel, Diala and Gul, I don't know if any of them, but if you do, hi, everyone, thank you for joining us.

And I cannot see who's joining from Facebook, unfortunately. So please do write your names. And I would like any of you to get us started with how you define or approach is perhaps a better word, innovation, how you teach it and how you convey it to your audiences.

[00:03:51] Iain Kerr: Sure. I think. For us we have a unique definition of innovation and creativity where we start from a non human perspective, from the idea that all reality is creative.

It's not simply that humans are creative, it's not that creativity starts in the mind and then it goes into the world, but we see creativity all around us all the time. We see it at the material level plate tectonics are emerging and we see it at the evolutionary biological level, new species, new types of species.

And all of this has to do with the complex adaptive systems. viewpoint where you don't need an author for creativity. It's an emergent property of reality and that humans can join it and participate in it, engage it. But so that's really where we locate creativity. And, because of that innovation,

[00:05:02] Jason Frasca: yeah, I would just add to that, The humans are not authors of it.

It's reality is this dynamic emerging worldly opportunity to engage with. And, the reality. Allows for is, always creative, right? Reality is always creative, something that we're participating in and joining in not authoring through ideation, ideas, imposing ideas and outcomes on a reality.

So it ignores the dynamics of relations that are taking place all around us and feeding into that.

[00:05:41] Christina Garidi: Wow. So I'm keeping, first of all, creativity and innovation, very blur lines between the two, oh yeah. We are not authors of creativity or creative reality. We just have the luxury to, to see them and relate to them.

Is that?

[00:06:02] Iain Kerr: Yeah. I think I would say the first part is we're always participating. Like we're of them. We're not separate, and I think this is an important part for leadership and thinking about complex systems is there's no Outside you're, it's not this God model where somebody can stand outside of it and look at it as if it's elsewhere.

But we're shaped by reality as we shape it, we're part of it and we can notice, depending on how we're engaged with it, we can notice novelty and difference. And I think the easiest way to notice it is to probe in a way that produces or pushes systems in different ways. So our approach is really much more active.

It's not stand back, ideate, come up with a plan, carry out a plan. But you're always immersed in a reality. It's non linear. It's, you can statistically perhaps predict certain forms of order. But when you're really interested innovation, creativity and change making, you're looking to produce and work with conditions that have propensities

where it might be more likely that certain things emerge and then you can work with those as they emerge and develop them. And that's why I think we blur. Creativity and innovation. Because they're always work you're never, there's never any clear cut line. Okay, here's a, let's say a human innovation follows this pathway and then there's just some generic creativity.

Or the innovations about purpose. It's always much more complex and interwoven.

[00:08:05] Christina Garidi: And that's why you were letting me know when we were preparing for this, that it is an approach. It's a point of view. And that brings me beautifully on how you both. From the work that you're publishing out there, I've seen you challenge the boundaries of status quo concepts.

Like we, we hope to go to university or anywhere else and learn that this is the definition of innovation. This is the definition, but you don't do that. You actually challenge all those boundaries for concepts such as art creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership. So what. Actually aligns both of you.

What's your mission behind emerging futures about? Because it's a movement and I think you're here to really You know, tell us something different, and that, that unites you, I have a feeling, but I'm like...

[00:08:55] Jason Frasca: Yeah, I think maybe we're part of a movement, not a movement, Yes, of course. Yeah, and I think what's united us in our approach and our work is we're interested in two questions.

What is innovation? And then how do you innovate? And I think, if we can understand what innovation is, which is largely a lot of the content that we put out, we're trying to understand what innovation is beyond. The traditional ideation models the human centered human centric types of models.

And so once we can understand them and truly, break apart, the clods of, misconceptions and presumptions about creativity that we're. That are instilled in all of us at quite young age, and, if we can break those apart, we can start to understand what we can do and how we can connect and engage with it, right?

It's a it's an opportunity for action. It's an opportunity for us to experiment with the reality so yes, we're of it and we can, as Ian said before, probe it, we can push it, we can test it, and we can try different things, but it's not going to come from our mind if we're focused on what's in here, right?

It's that isolationist authored approach, but if we start to experiment with it, then we can then we can do something really special. And I think that's what's fun. Bonded us in our work over the last nearly 10 years,

[00:10:38] Iain Kerr: I think. Also like to just jump in with Jason saying there's a number of movements that I think are really important to rethinking creativity and innovation, that we really, participate in and try to push.

And the first is, The idea of an active cognition like embodied cognition that, thinking isn't happening just in the head, but thinking is embodied, and it's extended into the world. It happens with tools, and it happens because of certain environments and practices and habits and other people.

It's shared. And once you see that the classical idea of creativity, which is so much about having a unique idea in this moment, that's absolutely a non starter because it's there's nothing happening just in the head. It's not just in the brain for any type of thing. That means that we have to be much more active and consciously active, like Jason saying.

Thank you. Engaged, participatory, experimental, what have you. And that leads, I think, to like the second big movement, which is like complexity theory, where we understand that things are not linear, and I think that alone, the idea that things aren't linear, then gets rid of so many other ideas about, creativity and innovation and change making, where it's this idea of ideate, plan, and make.

A very linear one that you even see in design thinking or something. You can't work in a linear way. And for us, the core of that is to understand emergence where these multiple factors are leading to something greater than the sum of the parts to emerge that has an ability to change the parts themselves.

And once you see that all of these other parts of creativity and innovation start to fall into place, and then I think the other parts are coming from anthropology and sociology where there's these movements, to see how these practices shape us at a profound level, evolutionary theory with looking at exaptation and niche construction, how our environment makes us.

If there's anything unique about what we're doing is we're pulling, synthesizing these different really revolutionary approaches and bringing them to bear on human practices of innovation. Organizational practices, organizational leadership and trying to be really conscious about it.

But we're certainly not the only ones. There's many interesting people working on this, especially you know, in those areas I was taught.

[00:13:55] Christina Garidi: What's striking for me is how you're weaving all of these different disciplines. And now that you have explained this to me, I can see quantum physics. I can see ecology that I've done at university and I understand it quite intimately. Biodiversity evolution Sociology, anthropology, all of it.

And who taught me I'm linear and I can do design? Who do I need to blame now, right? We're not blaming anyone. But, it's blowing my mind, the fact that all my education has been simplistic. And linear because it had to be, but actually that doesn't equip me to, be able to feel creative. And this is a different discussion, but as an ex consultant obviously I've been taught about innovation and how does that look like in, in business terms. And I can give you all the schools that the design thinking schools and so on, but, so let me frame. My next question, consultants and other business professionals have been taught about how innovation should look like.

And the typical way in which we're told how it should work like is research and development. It's a scientific analytical process and you go somewhere, you learn the expertise and the knowledge and you come back and you apply it. And if you do that enough, many times, if you know how to experiment enough, I guess is what we learn.

Then at the end of it the sausage, which is creativity and innovation comes out and you become a multi millionaire, if not a billionaire, that, that's the scenario, I particularly like reading, your, newsletters was in particular, you compare different thinking models and what piqued my attention was how you said literally that we still think the ancient Greek way because this was the logical way.

I guess that was the groundbreaking thinking at the time. And we still carry it half, millennia later. How it, what was striking for me when I was reading this was how my classical education has been basically delaying me from being able to see what I need to see especially in a complex adaptive world.

So how would you deconstruct somebody who's classically educated? And I'm talking as a Greek here, through my education how can I just lift that and see things differently? How would you help me do that? If I was your student, I would challenge you enough to say how about this and how about that?

[00:16:45] Iain Kerr: I guess there's a couple parts to that. Like the first I think important part is, just understanding the history of the West. So it's it's one strain of Greek thought, which was explaining about how something can come from nothing and that there needs to be.

Some, thing that doesn't change some set of ideal forms or like the unmoved mover. And that became central to like Christianity explaining the role of God which then shaped the Western tradition where creativity was something only God had God made everything. And what humans could do was be inspired, which meant to see God's plan in some way.

And then try and make it on earth. So we were doing a very sophisticated form of copying of a fixed, unchanging truth. And that shaped Western thought and practices in a way until the 17 1800s. And creativity as a word only appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, which is like crazy.

And it's not like there was other words and they didn't have quite the right one, but they had the concept. It's literally that this concept that something genuinely new could emerge, only started to take 20th century. And so I think that shapes then the next part you're saying with education, like most of our education.

Is a type of knowledge learning, like where it's already fixed in this kind of God model learn the periodic table, learn covalent bonding, learn statistics, whatever it might be, right? But 98 percent of learning is like there's a correct fixed answer. So you're not learning how to explore to probe systems into new states.

And I don't think you're. I certainly, I was never told that it's possible to have genuinely new, forms of knowledge emerge. It's like it's already all there. And I think innovation creativity is when it's disruptive and when it's not just an improvement, is genuinely producing something new.

That's qualitatively new ontologically new. So it has like a new form of truth, a new form of practice. And that's radically challenging and to imagine telling and this is something we're really interested in. It's like, how do you have this with a kindergarten, student, a grade one student?

How did they, how can you help them experience a world? Where it's possible for something genuinely and radically new to, so that's a big interest of ours as well as the organizational consulting is like, how do we shift pedagogy in that way

[00:20:05] Christina Garidi: inside of things? Yeah, feeling. And that's why you were talking.

It's not just the cognitive, it's the embodiment of that ability. Yeah...

[00:20:18] Iain Kerr: that's the other part. If you think about, like how, do we set up spaces? We set up spaces to disembody people like to push everything into some mental, like you're sitting at a desk in a chair. It's hard to get up.

It's hard to move around. It's hard to set up an experimental space to test things. So it reinforces in these feedback loops, a way of feeling yourself as a, just a mind type being and pre given knowledge and all of those things.

[00:20:54] Christina Garidi: Okay. So are you rolling around on the floors then?

[00:21:00] Jason Frasca: Sometimes.

[00:21:03] Christina Garidi: Not now on a study with you.

[00:21:07] Iain Kerr: I tried as an experiment, just as a side note to live for about 10 years without any furniture. Just stuff on the floor and nothing on the walls. And

[00:21:21] Christina Garidi: how did that work out?

[00:21:24] Iain Kerr: I think it the first part is incredibly hard because your physiology, is shaped from birth to be with certain furniture.

And so your skeleton, your muscles, your organs. So just changing that like overnight. It's incredibly difficult because back to this, like you're embodied and extended and so suddenly you're lost. It's like you've, cut off a chunk of your actual being and you have to find it anew.

So I think a big part was like just persevering to figure out how to make something different happen. But I, just bring it up in the sense of we are, it's our environment isn't just something extra. And I think this is an important part for leadership and organizations is if you just, have information about creativity or you just have workshops, but you don't change the actual environments and the infrastructure, the organizational logic, it's just going to bounce back like it's propensity will take you back to whatever else it was and no matter how many times or posters you put up, Saying do whatever, like the embodied, enacted, habitual environmental practices just move everything back in the other direction.

[00:23:00] Christina Garidi: Habit. Wow. That's powerful because you said reality shapes us as well. The environment shapes us back and it was striking to imagine me with, without Of course, the laptops, the desk, the chair how would I be doing this meeting? Anyway, I don't need to have a, an existential crisis right here, I think, right now.

We'll save it for off camera. Yes, I can send you my first impressions. My husband is away. I can throw all the furniture and get him to come back to a house of no furniture. I do receive your letter, as I said the Emerging Futures Lab weekly. Something that really striked me was, about how you said that innovation doesn't give any answers.

And it's not about a method and. That it's not even about us. And I think you already started shaping our mind around that dot, So I just want to finish the sentence here. So if it's not all these things, what else is it not? And perhaps. How we can start grasping it, because we talked about environment, space, non linear, so start making it perhaps a bit more, I don't know, I'm not going to say the word because I don't want to define it.

[00:24:34] Iain Kerr: Do you mean like in, like how do you do it sense, the practical?

[00:24:39] Christina Garidi: So how, does it, if it's not about us as leaders, if it's not about answers, if it's not about how does it look like, how does it even have shape of some sort? How can we recognize when innovation, new thinking has emerged? And you started talking about, emergence as well.

[00:25:02] Iain Kerr: Yeah. There's a lot. There's a lot of questions there. We want, I guess the part like where we really stress like it's not about problem solving or answers and these things. I think for us, what's important is that, it's a way of pushing back against what are the really common practices in organizations.

Where often they'll bring in someone like an innovation consultant to help them, like brainstorm, ideate, develop and push a team towards some new product, like some new solution, some new answer. But this is there's so many problems with that approach from theoretical to practical.

Ultimately, it's just very brittle. You've got a one off answer to something and our real interest is how do you develop as an organization, an ecosystem, and in that that's like organizational logic, the environment, the tools, the techniques practices, culture, all of those parts.

Such that you're more creative than not creative. Like the propensities are towards new things emerging. And so not to focus like on solving one thing, doing one thing, having one great idea and then going back to normal. Which you see so often where organizations might have an innovation challenge.

And like the three best ideas will they'll get some funding internally and they can work on it. But they haven't. Changed anything about the organization changed them to make it more spontaneously creative, dynamic, able to deal with reality that's complex and changing and what have you.

That's really our goal in a way is very pragmatic. It's to be more pragmatic than, I'd say like very stupid things like just doing one off creative exercises and that's where you could say there's a type of leadership involved where you're willing to step back, see that this is a longer, more involved process with multiple scalar changes, and that it's not going to lead to immediate results, like in the next quarter, nothing's happening.

Nothing's changing. And they're and I think once you start moving into being more innovative, you also there's more failures, you have to have a culture that's willing to experiment, to try things, see that they, lead not to nowhere, to be able to iterate at long stretches to allow things to co emerge.

And so that's really our, that kind of focus. Yes. Of when we're saying all of these things that might sound polemic or crazy if you take them out of context, like it's not about whatever, it's really to get people to focus in on what I think really counts organizationally. But also I think like to your work as a consultant, like what's the meaning of a beautiful life, a good life?

It's going to be one that's creative. One that can meet reality and that's like stopping solving problems as a focus. But what does it mean to me?

[00:29:04] Jason Frasca: Yeah, and I just add that in, right? Like setting up the these ecosystems are leaderless leadership, right? You're creating opportunity for the system to lead and pull you along.

Opportunity for feedback, recognizing it, incorporating it, acting on it. Allowing the system to lead the people as opposed to the people leading the system. It's, it's, there's nothing fast about it, which is often this kind of bottleneck we run into often quick solutions.

You mentioned the one off workshop as a way to transform the organization, it not incorporating. the senior leaders of the organization at the very top, the ecosystem as a whole, right? And it, all of its parts need to be included and incorporated for real change to happen and for that propensity for real change to happen.

[00:30:14] Christina Garidi: I love the Seed your plan out lines because the leader, less cysts that leads a scary thing. Ask anybody to get on a train and say your company now doesn't have a train driver. That's what happened in London when the DLR was created.

[00:30:35] Iain Kerr: Yeah.

[00:30:36] Jason Frasca: Yeah. And that also kills the ego too, right? People don't like to let go, you've got to be ego less and that's very antithetical to leadership

[00:30:50] Iain Kerr: I think you know, they're Like the one so this would be the other part I'd add to a definition of creativity to get at this that it leads is you know systems have are dynamic, but they have stable state.

So they're repeating and looping and, but if you can probe that system such that new propensities develop and you can flow with them, follow them, develop them and stabilize them as their own thing. And this is like they're partially sequestered and supported and you have some novelty emerging.

Then it, that novelty, like what's happening and what Jason's saying is the novel system is then feeding forward into the existing one and leading the change. So the, and this is what it means to have a system led change and, and I think You know where it sounds scary in a way we live our lives this way.

Like we, it's not like there's like pure free will and you could literally do anything. You're in a system that has propensities that's moving you along. And for good or for bad, you're co shaping those is, is your type of agency. It's not a god like agency where you're like, you can press the stop button, move things around, and then like press go or rewind, and it's like you're in this Emerging dynamic reality and you have certain degrees of freedom and you can you can leverage them in ways that have, unpredictable outcome, so it's not like it's a fixed logic, but it's and I think this is like the other part of the Western tradition, those concepts were never there, but you do see them in many other traditions and I think this is, Another part like our work draws a lot on philosophical traditions from Japanese philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Indian philosophy, both contemporary and historical, and then researchers and what have you.

So that's, there's a lot of interesting stuff there.

[00:33:21] Christina Garidi: Ah, so we've got a question. I think , this is from NAOs. He's my business mentor actually. So he asks if you were to compare Contrast existing maybe I can show it. Here, linear innovation approaches, like all these jobs to be done, first principles, etc.

To your method, where are commonalities and where are major differences? Ooh, that's a textbook, a difficult question for me. But maybe, very on on general level, what would you say the major Difference of your philosophy is from linear innovation approaches that say, okay, these are the things that need to be done.

[00:34:11] Iain Kerr: Yeah, I think there's this is one thing, we haven't really talked about, but I think it's also important to see that the types of change we're talking about or creativity is about change is some type of difference. And you can categorize differences like change in degree and change in kind and.

Radical creativity, which we've been really focusing on here so far in the discussion, is that kind of qualitative change in kind. It produces a different world, a different system. But there's also change in degree. And I think change in degree is this improvement. Slight variation.

You've got one chair, now you can make a thousand different ones. And so when we talk about linear forms of creativity they're really valid and they're part of this change in degree part of the equation. And you can never get away from that. Even if you have a change in kind, you still have to make it real through change of degree.

It's really that we've put all our focus and historically. In contemporary sense on this change in degree side, and we've done it in a very linear way, and we've not focused on the change in kind. So part of what our interest is, and it's like, how do we move to understand the change in kind in this kind of qualitative world making logic of creativity, and then feed that back in to change in degree.

And I think the big difference. When you come to the change in degree side is that, a lot of these ideas that are linear don't understand or I shouldn't say don't understand, ignore that you're co emerging with something you're co and that things are environments and systems. They're not discrete objects and products, so that you need a type of strategy.

Of co emergence where you're building an ecosystem. And I think you really see this most clearly when people talk about what is the customer and imagining that there's a static subject out there somewhere with fixed wants and needs rather than objects just making an object changes people and changes you and changes environments.

And then there's a feedback loop. So it's not there's fixed anything. So you're trying to co emerge and I think so that these kind of more linear models of jobs to be done first principles they lose sight of The kind of co emergent partners is what I would say. But they're not like entirely wrong in the sense that there is a world of change and degree.

[00:37:28] Christina Garidi: But they miss the complexity element that you were mentioning, right?

[00:37:31] Iain Kerr: Yeah and, I think that's the really pragmatic part. It's if, you sit in a world of ideation. And you have this say, design thinking, empathize, ideate, plan and make, you're really missing how things are happening.

And it's not like you'll be entirely wrong, it will work, but it will always surprise you in ways that your model can't really adapt to well. And so you're losing the possibilities because you're just, no, it's doing this.

[00:38:09] Christina Garidi: I think a few people are commenting here. John Flack, Discovering Alternatives, Let me actually show it, as part of motor skills, constraining degrees of freedom to take advantage of natural constraints.

I think you have talked a lot about constraints as well. I wouldn't be able to pretend I can say the name. I love Bernstein and Turner. Maybe. Beautiful. So I think some people are resonating already with some of the bibliography perhaps that I have no idea about, but let's go into the practical part of what you do as well because I bet when you are actually helping people realize they can create worlds and ecosystems that can operate differently rather than The linear models where of innovation where we're just changing the degrees of improvement.

And these are still valid for whatever reasons, but actually sometimes with situations like COVID where things change entirely we are caught very quickly into, the narrative that, Oh, we didn't plan for this. We didn't know what to do. And then we just have to, I guess it's a good thing because we can innovate much faster, but we are caught by surprise.

How is this all relevant then to business leaders? A lot of my, audience are on the business side of things, and I can imagine. You're promising them that they can create new worlds and new ecosystems in their organizations. Not you promising them, but you could, help them create that.

But if they could take away something from our chat today, what are the practical and applicable principles perhaps that they can take away to be able to go back and start creating those. Ecosystems to consistently innovate without them. What, a great opportunity if leaders can do that for their teams without dissolving to entropy, without losing control entirely if possible.

Although they should be able to, let it go. How can a leader then create a safe space? As we were talking last time for their team and for innovation to happen for the sake of innovation as well.

[00:40:35] Iain Kerr: So that, yeah. I, think like some simple, shifts that I think are important that have, threads running through the whole conversation, it's really to de emphasize as an organization, this ideation plan and make model where, you've set up the organizational flow, the Environmental architecture.

So it's about ideation and presenting and evaluating presentations and then green lighting some to go forward and move to much more models that are highly engaged, like where you have an area of interest, you have a way of probing it, getting feedback, developing, following. And, to have, I think another part of that is like you have to make an organizational structure where teams can emerge, and roles can change so imagine we were all assigned the three of us to a team and organization to work on some new project.

But as we start probing and experimenting, we realize that, perhaps I'm the wrong person. We need two other people part time. We need somebody from outside the organization. Does the organization have the structure that it can even adapt to that? And then the resources can flow and move.

So I think there's a lot of infrastructural changes. There's environmental changes. And these are all like really practical things, but part of it, I think starts, where people get a sense of what this means, and this is where we like to play games with groups of people and do workshops where they the games and the workshops allow people to embody these experiences in a non threatening manner, where they.

We're not talking about like emergence and self organization. We're not talking about propensities of novel creativity, but they're actually doing it in real time in a day long type workshop. And I think these kinds of things. Really help, people in leadership roles, the C suite, other parts, sense and feel what it means.

And then they start to, think in their context, what would we need to do to be more like that and less like they are now. And then we can start to work with them to strategically test out context relevant additions. But so I think often... The key way to start is have experiences, in some way that allow you to embrace like being more embodied, extended, have you allow you to, feel emergence, and those things are really critical because I think if it's just intellectual and it's just Here's an idea or theory or concept.

You, miss what it is and you miss sensing how you can. As a leader, as C suite, participate in those changes.

[00:44:32] Jason Frasca: Yep. Lectures are not very impactful, right? Experiences are. Experience it first before even introducing any of the language and allowing someone to be able to reference back to. What they've experienced and felt and noticed that was different than what they've traditionally been, coerced into following and, that's definitely are the core of our approach in terms of relating some of these.

[00:45:04] Christina Garidi: So it seems to me that you give them a freedom, of what it looks like to be innovative and creative. And then once you get a taste of that, really, then you have to have that as a guide to guide you on your way back of creating that ecosystem to allow others to, to experience that too. But you're right without.

Without that moment, that lightbulb moment, for people to be able to notice when they are partaking into the creation, which is not theirs, which is not for them, which is not because they asked a question, but by playing and probing and experimenting, then they have. Yeah, you participate and therefore they can understand what it means like to create that space for others to

[00:45:58] Iain Kerr: yeah, we put a lot of effort into inventing games and workshop practices, like I think To John Flack's point here where he's talking about discovering coordinative structures and constraints, those things sound great, and they're all true, but imagine telling an organization hey, this is what you should do.

It's it makes very little sense abstractly, but when you do, when you participate in the right types of games and exercises, Then you're like, Oh yeah, that's the language for this. And you develop your own language, new language, and then you start to see examples like John has here with the Fosbury flop.

We're like, okay I, now I see how that came about as like an embodied, affordance driven innovation. And like in a way we could sit here and list like the 600 things. We would say like an organization should do, but it would sound like, I'm sure like John's comment might sound like to somebody who's unfamiliar with any of that language.

You're just like, it's all it's all Greek as we say in English to me. And like, how do you have to make it embodied and felt and experienced and then you have to unpack this with people in a way that you are not telling them how to understand their experience, but you're allowing them to see that it was genuinely different than how they understood innovation creativity before.

[00:47:55] Jason Frasca: And, if we didn't take this embodied approach, boy, would we be hypocrites?

So we're living our own ethos. We're eating our own dog food.

It's critical.

[00:48:07] Christina Garidi: It's very close to the coaching approach. But I guess coaching can be intellectual to an extent, although we get the moment of when new world open up.

Something that they've never seen before and they have realized it on their own, which is very close to the Socratic method of, fee and questions and so on. And that brings me to how I see your work based on what you explained. And I hadn't possibly imagined it would be groundbreaking as I.

Said it would be, but it is. So in my eyes, what I see that you are doing and you're enabling with emerging leaders is to read their environment, to create their own language, to be able to see the innate abilities within themselves, but also other people and discern the opportunities for innovation and know how to actually bring that forth accordingly.

So new language. Being able to create their own new language, not the language you tell them, but the language they will need to take back home for people to understand, their people to understand. And the way I think I described it last time we, spoke just to PrEP was, It's a radar. You're giving them, you're gifting them with a radar to be able to make sense of this in their own space and recreate that space, give that space a renovation and a facelift.

Yeah. And once they do that, then they can communicate that back and everyone can start seeing the signs and start utilizing them. And hence, it's not just the leader's job to be able to point the opportunities. It's as you said, the system that starts leading itself, that starts the ecosystem that starts innovating and moving towards the right direction for them.

And I think. You, probably have bad definition from me, but you've called those opportunities that are being tapped into and that are being seen as affordances. And I think that's a very beautiful word because then we see that we can actually afford them right now before. Potentially, there will be just opportunities that we cannot grasp, but now we can afford them.

We can actually make them happen. We can bring them forth. We can embody them. So what does it take for a leader, for an organization, for a team to put this gift in motion? Because that's a huge gift to be able to recreate our thinking. Again and again in any given moment in any complex situation.

This is gift. How would you,

[00:51:06] Iain Kerr: yeah, that's like a big question. I think just to maybe break it down like piece by piece, one of the, really, I, I like where you're, when you say radar and I think it's we're trying to get people to have a different form of sense making where and this is this term coming out of embodied cognition that life is, under precarious conditions.

The way historically we've made sense is linear, ideation based, and so we live that. And I think by shifting people's practices and environments and embodied things, they're, they have a different form of sense making. Where then they can see a far more relational, far more emergent, approach is possible.

And one part I'd say that's really important when it comes to things like coaching and leadership is You know, who we are is relational, like what everything is, and I think this is the key of this term affordances it's what things are not in anything, but are in the relationship. And I think it includes our own identity, ourself ourself comes from the relation of others, environments, aspects, whatever, and that affords certain possibilities.

And those possibilities are stabilized socially, culturally, environmentally, and so we see the world a certain way as fixed. Change those, things open up again. And I think this is the really important thing to bring into an organization to and wherever it starts with the C suite, with a leader.

But it's shifting it's shifting a culture. But the important part, I think, to beat a dead horse is that it's, really about shifting that environment, that ecosystem that'll allow a different relational set of affordances to emerge and to take something different as reality. And. And that opens up, then, a creative way of being alive.

And I think just to come back to the Greek and the Socratic, it's like Socrates was a cynic. Part of the, and the cynics weren't like the modern word cynic, but they were people who believed in, actively living, their ideas. So it wasn't about dialogue. But it was about testing the world around them, living it.

Dion, Dios, Dionysus of Sinope. He was famous for, I don't know, masturbating in public, or... But to test things, live things, probe things, do things. And Socrates, sadly had Plato rewrite him, but he was that. And I think the Socratic method is that, is the, is a method of testing, probing, doing.

Making new things. And that's what's so critical to bring into organization.

[00:54:45] Christina Garidi: And that absolutely aligns with what I am trying to at least put into motion with Udemy. I think I've shared my book synopsis. It's really about leaving the space, creating that environment for There is tools on merge. And then it's not a heavy job.

As a, leader of my small organizations, I always felt the weight that I need to set the tone that I need to do everything is such a heavy job that I actually started hating at some point what I was doing because the weight was too much. And But actually by allowing others to take initiative to be there and we just have a context where we allow that to happen.

Obviously not in a, in the same way perhaps that you do it, but I'd be very curious to learn from you. It takes off the weight for the leader so that they can be creative and participate in the process without having to know the answer to be the person who decides to and it's absolutely beautiful.

And. It means that I can walk out one day and what I've created will not die because somebody else will and, it's not the impact I create, I'm not the author anymore. It can go forward without me. there isn't biggest peace of mind there isn't big, biggest, kind of harmony in the heart.

Eudaimonia is about being at peace, being in zen, when you know that you can actually walk out and leave something behind that. people will take care of because it's equally as yours. And yeah, it's very much aligned to eudaimonia and what I believe that the philosophy would be in today's world

[00:56:38] Jason Frasca: and allowing the allowing those within your organization to take that leaderless leadership approach empowers them.

They, take great pride and there's purpose bubbling up. And output increases and all of the wonderful side benefits of of that ownership and empowerment bubble up for a much more robust organization. But also a much more fulfilling life, right? For, those that that work for you.

So we're with you. Yeah, I can.

[00:57:16] Christina Garidi: Yeah, it's, complete paradigm shift. And I think we already talked about was it Monday about, how normal organizations value the productivity. Whereas in creative organizations, it's not the output. It's about the value, and the meaning and the sense making or within that leads to fulfillment that has.

huge value that nobody's, at least the economic system right now is not able to showcase, the, value of those organizations and what they shift. And imagine if we can apply those approaches to the global climate. issues that we have. But what the beautiful, thing about Europe is that it brings the gifts of every scientific, perhaps approach.

The anthropology you spoke about, the, more ethnic studies, the biodiversity studies, ecology, law, health, all of these things blend beautifully. into how we can lead and we can lead from a place of no ego. As well. And I'm really moved. I'm really, moved. We've got a comment here, which I will read out because I didn't have a chance to read.

But if you have got any questions, whoever is still here with a lot of people can relate to sports, says John. The analogy of Rob Gray's work on sports and how we learn to move that was related to the environment is a good source for thinking about exploring constraints to improve performance.

As with sports, an important selling point for innovation is to, and I cannot see what the next one is. What does it say? Innovation is to get a competitive edge.

[00:59:19] Iain Kerr: Yeah we use, I think sports is a really good for many reasons because it's shaped by an environment, say, like with soccer slash football, the field and the field is charged differently if you're in front of your goal means one thing relationally versus the other goal.

And I it's embodied, it's extended, it's relational the star of. isn't any person. It's, y The thing that counts is the ball and its movement and it changes who you are, and you change to it in the field and in relation to others and all strategies of soccer are these relational ones about how you shape the pace, with say Barcelona, like we'll keep short passes, ball on the ground.

Whatever it might be, it's, these things of dynamic constraints that allow certain things to be more likely than others embodied relational. So I think it's really useful. We try to invent games that are, that could feel a bit like a sport, but really are closer to the things that are happening in today's age.

But they have that same quality where it's about relational dynamics. In emergence and, and I think this is again one of those things once you start to understand or you have this, much more relational urgent dynamics set of sense making, you see how sports. It isn't about one person, like the proper name of a star, but really about the conditions of the system.

The system is making these people in a way. So all of that I think is really important and useful.

[01:01:26] Christina Garidi: Yeah, thank you. And we've got a question here from Reggie. So someone who is seeking employment, how do you recommend a person demonstrate or highlight creativity and an innovative mind for potential employers?

If they understand that now that I've got this new definition, I think it will be very hard to tell a potential employer, especially a HR person that I'm innovative. Thank you Reggie for your question. I don't know if as a career coach, I should step in a little,

[01:02:02] Iain Kerr: what would you say? Yeah.

[01:02:04] Jason Frasca: How would you Christina?

[01:02:07] Christina Garidi: So I'm caught off guard here. I think it really depends on who you've got in front of you, who's interviewing you. And I think it would, for me, if I am innovative and I want to demonstrate I'm innovative first of all, as a career coach, I should say use examples of where I've used my innovation, in, my previous experience, but regardless, I think I would.

Probably step into my Socratic self for a moment and start asking the person how they define innovation. Exactly what we did here. And start understanding how they're sense making the world to bring out the best examples. For them to relate to. And building on what we shared here. It has to be with how that person understands and relates to what innovation is so that we can enable them to understand from our perspective what they want to hear.

But yeah, that, that's my career coaching approach. I don't know if our guests have any any more additions to that.

[01:03:24] Jason Frasca: I would only add and build upon that and point to the actions you've taken, right? And highlight the experiences and as opposed to ideas, right? So point to a portfolio, a website, some collection of moments in time where you've created, where you've made.

Where you've innovated, where you've generated difference, positive output contributed to return on investment or profit, whatever it might be in any of those contexts across any field point to examples and experiences and describe them as such, as opposed to.

[01:04:08] Christina Garidi: And that shows the practicality of what you can forge and bring forward as a leader, regardless of whether you have a title or you have a position or, some sort of scope within the organization to create change because it doesn't, our role shouldn't stop us from being creative.

[01:04:30] Jason Frasca: Yeah, show, don't tell.

[01:04:32] Christina Garidi: Yeah. Any other questions from the audience while we're wrapping up? Do you have any questions from, what came up maybe for the audience or for me? You don't have to.

[01:04:45] Jason Frasca: I've enjoyed at the end here how we got into... Eudaimonia, and purpose for me, that was very fulfilling.

I enjoyed hearing you speak about it.

[01:04:57] Christina Garidi: And so to our audience, if you have enjoyed this, whoever is still here with us, give us a thumbs up in the chat to let us know if you did enjoy that. And how Ian and Jason have unfolded what creativity, innovation, embodiment, relation, affordances, propensities, ecosystems are.

I think I need to, write a summary of, also for more content like this, do follow them. I'll put in all the events that I've got around scattered around the web their website, but also their LinkedIn profile. So go connect with them. But do follow the newsletter which. comes out weekly, which is the emergent futures lab newsletter.

So I will send you some information on that. So do sign up. It's very enlightening. And unless we've got anything else in the chat, I would like to thank you for your time with us today. I feel absolutely enlightened to have learned so much and I'm absolutely. Curious and ready to attend any workshops that you have coming up anytime soon in Europe please do let us know I'll be delighted to be able to share them with our audience and thank you for opening my mind to a new world of what innovation is, and I wish I have learned it.

That way at business school, but also in several workshops from innovation consultancies that I have come across in the last few years. Thank you so much for being here.

[01:06:38] Iain Kerr: It's been a real pleasure. It's really wonderful talking and also learning about what you're doing and it's very inspiring, so thank you.

[01:06:46] Jason Frasca: Yes. Thank you, Christina, for the opportunity and platform to talk and just discuss and chat more here. This was really wonderful. Yeah.

[01:06:55] Christina Garidi: Take care and have a good day. It's quite early in the USA. It

[01:07:01] Iain Kerr: still is. The sun's out.

[01:07:02] Christina Garidi: I know. It's so dark here.

Take good care. Take care. So much. Bye bye. Everyone.

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

Delivered Every Friday