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Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Michael J. Kendrick PhD Kendrick Consulting Intl

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1 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Michael J. Kendrick PhD Kendrick Consulting Intl

2 All new ideas begin in a non- conforming mind that questions some tenet of the conventional wisdom H. G. Rickover

3 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators It is often the case that the individuals and groups that are the leading edge of important changes “on the ground” are much too preoccupied with solving their challenges to either publicise their work or even explain it. Thus it is not surprising that there is often little known about what they may have accomplished and what underpinned their experiments.

4 We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems. John W. Gardner

5 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators It is rarely a large number of people who actually invent or innovate, as it is easy to confuse early adopters and promoters of innovations as being their creators Though it is valuable that many can help an innovation be “brought to scale” and receive wider acceptance, it does not particularly enlighten us as to what went into shaping the fundamentals of the innovation itself.

6 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Without more first hand study of the actual process of innovation, social invention and leadership there is a real danger of not properly comprehending what is actually required of human beings in order to persist with the very difficult challenges, obstacles and obstacles that may confront would be change agents. Notwithstanding the much more recent romanticisizing and glamorisation of innovation in corporate circles, perhaps the actual realities involved may be much more dire and dismal on occasion.....much as Hobbes implied.

7 ....... the life of man, (is) solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan, or the matter, forme, and power of a commonwealth, ecclesiasticall and civill, 1651

8 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators The assumption that “leadership”, “paradigm shifting”, “thinking outside the box” and other such activities can simply be packaged, taught and somehow be made plentiful through shrewd bureaucratic investments and programmes, is premised on many assumptions about how leadership might arise, be cultivated and flourish.

9 If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. Albert Einstein

10 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators It would be very useful if we could be more empirically certain whether we can or should trust such claims, or instead see them as being nostrums to be wary of. It should not surprise us that the actual “leading edge” might be a surprisingly uncrowded and thinly populated place, as the demands of being there on the occupants may differ greatly from the more heroic and likely victorious portrayals of leadership and innovation we endlessly hear about at conferences and in popular writings about successful leaders.

11 If you always think what you always thought, you’ll always get what you always got. Gerald Haman

12 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Nonetheless, there are and have been authentic pioneers, leaders, innovators and inventors and we are greatly in debt to them for what they may have brought into the world. In the world of human services, community change and the lives of people made vulnerable by the way our world works, we have had many examples of such people and it is striking how little is understood and appreciated about what they have done and what it may take to do it.

13 "When you invite people to think, you are inviting revolution” Ivana Gabara

14 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators It is striking that many innovations that could conceivably be revolutionary in their impact and benefit are largely relegated to a quite minor status in terms of their systemic role. While they may be lionized at one level as being exemplary, it is also striking that their actual impact is in actuality constrained, marginal and quite small scale

15 Examples of Largely Still Marginal But Supposedly Highly Desired Innovations Support circles Natural supports Community group membership Open employment Micro enterprises Strengths based approaches Person centered living rather than just planning Culturally suitable solutions Member cooperatives Use of generic resources Home ownership Supported decision making Intentional community Independent advocacy Social change networks Collective action/social movements Asset based community development Dissident experimentation Bureaucratic shielding Self efficacy and resilience

16 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Innovations are often as much resisted as they are adopted and so the assumption that something beneficial will be widely welcomed and normatively institutionalized. This would have to account for why quite valid and objectively beneficial approaches are often strikingly marginalized for extensive periods. Nonetheless, this is the challenge of the adoption or wider acceptance of the innovation rather than the question of what is quintessentially seminal in the innovation process itself.

17 Beware of the tyranny of making small changes to small things. Rather, make big changes to big things. Roger Enrico

18 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators If we examine the people and the context involved in generating innovations, we could begin to distinguish between what is involved in the creation of a possibly beneficial innovation and the somewhat separate question of innovation adoption via “scaling up”, “diffusion” and the role of broader vested interests and networks in making such innovations accessible to larger numbers. Both questions are part of the larger question of what is worth investing in by way of somewhat more “proven” strategies to generate both innovations and their beneficial use by people.

19 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators At this juncture it is useful to remember that many academic and research initiatives have had a long tradition of studying, evaluating and educating many audiences and constituencies concerning matters of great significance regarding leading edge work that heretofore had been obscure and not taken seriously. Often their significance and ultimate utility have not been more broadly appreciated until they were validated and affirmed by independent and credible research and analysis.

20 One should never impose one’s views on a problem; one should rather study it, and in time a solution will reveal itself. Albert Einstein

21 Examples Where Social Science Has Assisted In The Examination Of And Education About Social Innovations Crowd sourcing Citizen participation Community control Community transport Micro lending Social media Social housing Community agriculture Environmental advances Community employment Safeguarding of minorities Prison diversion Indigenous community development Neighbourhood development Community change alliances

22 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators In many instances the true creators of innovations are persons and groups who are themselves marginal, lacking in status, out of favour with elites and entrenched interests, discredited relative to mainstream interests and in roles and identities that are devalued Most innovators are forced to take unsecured risks, are hamstrung by resources, assailed in terms of their credibility, beset by very challenging technical, organizational and political issues and up against the weight of many orthodoxies.

23 The ability to innovate is only as good as how one can accept changes and take risks Franco Paolo Liu Eisma

24 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Consequently, innovation, leadership and experimentation roles may tend to favour people and alliances that are a match for these kinds of difficulties. Often these are people with disabilities, families, ordinary friends and acquaintances, interested community people, sympathetic civil servants, activists, intellectuals and dissidents of various kinds. In other words, citizens of no great standing, but possibly possessing considerable insight “on the ground” as to what is actually most needed and with a keen sense of what might conceivably work to make things better

25 You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created. Albert Einstein

26 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Often these are people that may see themselves as essentially being “nobodies,” but reluctant, even so, to not give it their best effort to move matters along in a positive direction. Much of their determination and resourcefulness comes about as a result not of a view of themselves as fashionable activists, but rather as people stuck in circumstances that are deeply unhelpful and damaging and that something must be done to change such things.

27 The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. Arthur Koestler

28 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators It is important, given that such persons and groups are conceivably doing important work in carving out potentially valuable ways to meet important human needs, to study; What precisely they have already discovered that “works” or at least has the promise of doing so. What motivates them to to take on such often daunting challenges

29 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Understanding better what are the ways that they have discovered that they can manage matters so that their lives are more workable and beneficial overall. How they have managed to think clearly about many matters that those who are more established and favoured have not. How they have achieved meaningful results “on the ground”

30 When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. Buckminster Fuller

31 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators What their labours might have provided to many others if they knew better what the significance of what they have accomplished (thus far) were better known and appraised What was learned that overturns some conventional wisdom(s) but that also validates other ones

32 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators It is also important to; Link such innovators and leaders to similar ones To share their stories, experience and networks with other like minded people so as to optimise the impact of what is learned To critique what has not proven to have worked and to take matters to the next level based upon what has been learned.... thus far.

33 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators To build the networks of similarly innovative people and groups with each other as an effort to couple innovators with each other, strengthen the inspiration and motivation to progress and to deepen the learning. Evolve the thinking, benefits and outcomes further and to enrich the leadership impact of what is done.

34 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Obviously, the preceding work cannot get done without some kind of specialized capacities being specifically developed within a partnership between leading edge partners in the community and interested elements of the academy. Such partnerships already exist in many locations and any effort in Australia would find it advantageous to make links of this kind both within Australia and abroad.

35 Learning From The Explorers, Pioneers And Innovators Attention must be directed to the seeking out and understanding the “unknown” people who are doing the actual innovation, so that we can properly learn from and benefit from what their lives and their labours reveal.

36 Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted. Monica Baldwin

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