"Ours is a living world of continuous creation and infinite variation"


\nOver at the Great Human Capital blog, Margaret Wheatley has written a beautifully moving description of innovation that ties in to many of the themes that will appear here on the Endless Innovation site. According to Margaret, too many organizations fail on their innovation projects because they tend to think of themselves as mechanistic and machine-like. Once they learn to think of themselves as living, breathing systems, it all becomes a lot easier. Notice, too, how she brings up the notion of "continuous creation" and "infinite variation" by referring back to the natural world:

"The\nhuman capacity to invent and create is universal. Ours is a living\nworld of continuous creation and infinite variation. Scientists keep\ndiscovering more species; there may be more than 50 million of them on\nearth, each the embodiment of an innovation that worked.


Yet\nwhen we look at our own species, we frequently say we’re "resistant to\nchange." Could this possibly be true? Are we the only species — out of\n50 million — that digs in its heels and resists? Or perhaps all those\nother creatures simply went to better training programs on "Innovation\nfor Competitive Advantage?"  [...]


Now\nthat I understand people and organizations as living systems, filled\nwith the innovative dynamics characteristic of all life, many\nintractable problems have become solvable. Perhaps the most powerful\nexample in my own work is how relatively easy it is to create\nsuccessful organizational change if you start with the assumption that\npeople, like all life, are creative and good at change.\n


Once\nwe stop treating organizations and people as machines and stop trying\nto reengineer them, once we move into the paradigm of living systems,\norganizational change is not a problem. Using this new worldview, it is\npossible to create organizations filled with people who are capable of\nadapting as needed, who are alert to changes in their environment, who\nare able to innovate strategically."

[image: The story of man]


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