Tag Archives: innovation

Humor and Innovation

Like most people I love getting to watch ideas as they work their way out or the primordial ooze. It’s fun. People laugh when they’re doing it.

Recently I’ve been thinking about that laughter as a way to understand what makes innovation tick and how I can create it in the communities that I work with. A joke, and I mean a good joke, is usually a platform for innovation. It tells a story with just the right timing, just the right details and just the right gaps to let your imagination have fun tying them all together. When I crack up with laughter it’s because that process of innovation hijacks my whole consciousness.

How many of you have had the experience of being hijacked like that by good innovation?

What’s interesting to me is the platform that humor provides. A narrative with the right details, the right timing and the right gaps. That narrative part is key. Innovation, after all, is an emergent process and not a reductionist one. Innovation doesn’t happen when you cut up a system and dive into understanding its components, though that can be an important part of the buildup. It happens when you look at a few details across the system- not too many- and crack yourself up making stories about them.


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