Clarity at 8400 Feet


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If my posts have been a bit thin on the ground, it’s because I’ve been away – sharpening my saw, as Steven Covey puts it.

I don’t do that particularly well. Like a lot of people in business in this country, I tend to keep going unless someone grabs me, pulls me away from work and forces me to stop for a while.

I was pondering that while hiking with my family up to an alpine lake in the Sierra Nevadas. At 8400 feet not just the air becomes clearer – getting distance from work makes a lot of things stand out that don’t in my day-to-day world.

The 3 parts of the innovation cycle are listening, reflecting and initiating. I’ll discuss all three parts at another time, but in general, the speed at which you can complete that cycle is the speed at which you innovate.

The second piece is reflecting. That’s the time in which, having listened, you get away and allow ideas to float around. That can happen on a hike, in the shower, or any time you extract yourself from being reactive.

Our life is filled with reaction – we’re constantly responding to emails, calls, and events. But it’s hard to create when you’re reacting.

Reflecting is a vital part of the innovation cycle. It allows ideas to reformulate in ways that are only possible in this most mysterious part of the cycle.

So don’t fall into the trap of thinking of your vacation as time away from your accomplishments as an innovator. It’s an essential part – mysterious, but essential.

Thompson Morrison
Thompson Morrison has spent the last couple of decades figuring out how companies can listen better. Before co-founding FUSE, Mr. Morrison was Managing Director of AccessMedia International (AP), a consulting firm that provides strategic market analysis for the IT industry. His clients included Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, IBM, and Vignette.


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