Innovation Chief of Clowns

Innovation is a “seriously serious” and deliberate matter. Tons has been written, discussed, and debated on how to excite, tickle and grow that thirst for inside out creative and different kind of thinking.

But while Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored event is taking place in San Francisco, the provocative, the unexpected and the meaningful are dancing a crazy dance with our imaginarium playpen.

So, how do you create innovation?

Daniel Lamarre, the president of Cirque du Soleil, once had someone hire a full-time clown to make sure he wasn’t getting too serious. “I’m the chief of clowns,” he said. “And I’m so happy.” And, come on now: Cirque du Soleil is the mother of all creative forces.

Here are some ways Lamarre tantalizes innovation: “You have to create an environment where people are stimulated. Sometimes in an organization, we try to be nice to each other, and there’s a lot of politics. We don’t like that. We like to create debates. It doesn’t matter if the idea comes from you or me, as long as the best idea prevails.”

Easier said than done? Think needs and wants. What you need is so much different than what you want. As Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton in his book, The Coming Jobs War says,  everybody’s been talking about Steve Jobs. But Steve Jobs wasn’t meeting needs; his company never met a need. Steve Jobs and his company created a need. Nobody knew they needed an iPhone. The same thing was true with the transistor and flight and Henry Ford’s mass production of cars. And looking back from the vantage point of today’s reality, all of these guys must have sounded like fools while sticking it out, acting like clowns while their ideas lit up the fire.

In the field of emotional economy or behavioral economics, it is acknowledged that human beings are not entirely rational. Best estimates are that approximately 70 percent of economic decision making is emotional, and 30 percent is rational. And what better way to go back to the circus, laugh and play with your inner clown and let the power of your ideas take over?..

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