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How can you be more innovative?

Is there a way through the challenges we face? Yes, there is. And one of its prime attributes is our ability to innovate.

The word "innovate" comes from the Latin "innovare", meaning "to renew or change." It’s a law of life and it catches up with all of us sooner or later, whether you're a small child, a housewife, a Boomer, not a Boomer, a business person, a homeless person, a farmer, a clerk, or a retired author and part-time blogger like me.

It’s our nature to innovate. It’s actually one of our deepest longings to renew and change. “Behold, I make all things new," says Rev.21.5 -- and who is that “I" if not you and me?

Here are some examples of the power of innovation at work in our world that I found very inspiring and I hope you will too.

Adde Hinton, a five-year-old kindergartner at Fort Carson in Colorado, "adopted" a soldier named Pfc Sean Healy through American Military Family  and has been sending him care packages and messages while he serves in Afghanistan. "I don't know if you know how much it means to me to meet you," Healy told Adde when he came home on leave recently. "At least I have a warm bed," she said as they chatted together. “I don't like it that you sleep in a dirt hole."

Sheena Matheiken launched a social initiative named The Uniform Project. She decided to wear the same dress every day for year to make a statement about the value of simplifying your life and wardrobe. In the process she raised over $100,000 to send kids to school in India as admirers donated help in various ways. The support Sheena received gave her the confidence to leave her day job and turn her passion into a new company that shows you can “do business while doing good.”

Ideo is a one of the world’s great design companies, taking on giant challenges such as access to safe drinking water, immunization delivery, and many more. But recently they launched Open Ideo, an invitation to everyone to join together and design for the good of the community. As the site says, “It’s an online platform for creative thinkers; the veteran designer and the new guy who just signed on, the critic and the MBA, the active participant and the curious lurker.”

6 characteristics of a successful innovator

How can you be a successful innovator? Here are 6 essential requirements. If you think of some more, please let me know.

1. An open mind

A successful innovator listens to her "hunches." She, or he realizes that the last word has not been spoken about anything and their potential to create is greater than anything they have yet realized.

2. A relaxed mind

A successful innovator knows the value of taking time simply to be quiet and still. For from such stillness and relaxation true inspiration springs.

3. A trusting mind

Successful innovators trust in themselves and in the gift they have to give to this world.

4. A compassionate mind

Ultimately, all innovation comes from our own true nature, that is to say, it requires compassion and love to flourish.

5. A flexible mind

The successful innovator is flexible in mind and heart, ready to turn on a dime if that is what is needed – but stubborn too if that is what is called for.

6. Imagination

What good or great thing can happen without imagination? It's a gift straight from God. It's at the core of who we truly are. And it gives wings to our thoughts and actions and aspirations.

If you have any thoughts on the above I’d love to hear from you. Just so you know, this theme didn’t come out of thin air. Giving a lot of thought to this blog and how to renew it and re-invigorate it. Any thoughts you may have on my blog or on “innovation” much appreciated.

Picture credit:  doug88888 photography



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Zarrella August 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I know the value of a still mind, but it often eludes me. I get distracted too easily. I have an imagination, but do not let it loose… not sure why. Compassionate, yes. Trusting, too much so.
If you cannot tell, I have been working on your course just now and I am in a strict answer the question phase.

I do not know that I could ever start an endeavor as those above. That is sad, yet I live my life daily, treating others in the same manner that I like to be treated… with respect, honesty and caring.
Thanks for the thoughts to ponder…


Christopher Foster August 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Hi Barbara,

I’m so happy to connect with you in this way. And I am so happy to get the clear ring in your words of a strong, loving, kind spirit. The truth is, that is the real nature of each one of us. I wouldn’t worry that stillness often eludes you. We are part of a larger entity that is feeling all kinds of difficulty and challenge. When you become aware your mind is busy, perhaps just quietly remind yourself that at the core of your existence is — stillness. Your own essential nature.


Sibyl August 17, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Chris: Great post and I love that list of the traits of an innovator. Really great information and it allows us to see what we need to potentially work on or strengthen in ourselves. Loved this one 🙂


Christopher Foster August 19, 2011 at 11:36 am

Hi Sibyl, many thanks for stopping by. I always love touching your beautiful spirit and I’m sure there are many more who are also very thankful for your presence in their lives. So happy you like this post. Talk to you soon and meanwhile send you love and blessings.


Justin | Mazzastick August 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Hi Christopher,
Innovation is what makes the world change into a better place. It really seems to me that the best place to open up and allow ourselves to change and be innovative would be in our minds.
Justin | Mazzastick recently posted..Find Your Passion By Following What Excites You


Christopher Foster August 19, 2011 at 11:42 am

I think you’re absolutely right Justin. If our mind is closed it’s pretty hard to let something really new be born in us or through us. So much easier when our mind is open and willing to change and try something new even if it does seem a bit threatening at first:-) Every good wish friend .


Galen Pearl August 19, 2011 at 8:41 pm

I love the six characteristics. Really, those are great characteristics for life, not just for innovation! They focus on being present in the moment, getting your ego out of the way, thinking of others, and not living in fear. Lots of wisdom in that list!
Galen Pearl recently posted..Giving Up Hope…and Getting Somthing Better


Christopher Foster August 20, 2011 at 11:18 am

I’m delighted to hear from you Galen. Thank you so much for your kind comment. I see your name on the net but this is the first time I’ve actually said “hi.” Love and blessings.


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