Leadership and Innovation: Relating to Circumstances and Change Excerpt from a paper by Jim Selman

Jim Selman– Excerpt from a paper by Jim Selman

Innovation takes place at different levels from modest improvements on an existing
product or process to dramatic and even historically significant breakthroughs in how we
relate to the world. In all cases, the capacity to innovate will be a function of our
commitments, what we want to accomplish and our relationship with the circumstances
we perceive we are in. If we are resisting or coping, we see no innovation and whatever
change we generate will be as a reaction to the circumstances and part of the process by
which those circumstances persist. When we are responding or choosing we are in a
position to innovate and will do so naturally and consistently as a function of what we
observe to be possible or what we observe is missing in our perspective of the world.
Change based on this view is likely to be an improvement on what already exists. When
we are bringing forth or creating we are not only in a position to innovate but are
predisposed to do so. Further, in these ways of relating to circumstances, we have few if
any limitations on what we can imagine and generate. We are likely to be generating
breakthroughs or even creating entirely new spheres of possibility.
8 I consider leaders and innovators as those who are concerned with and competent at
bringing ‘new realities’ into existence. I consider innovating to be a primary element in
the process of leading and I see innovations as examples of leadership results or
outcomes.
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