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Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Power of the Metaphor in Innovation

Last night, Times Now featured a heated debate on television on the allegations of Team Anna against the Prime Minister. As the debate progressed, it emerged that the speaker had used the statement where he likened the Prime Minister to being used by his government like ‘Shikhandi’. For those who may not know, Shikandi is a male-female (hermaphrodite) character in the Indian epic of the Mahabharata who was used as a shield during battle because men would not fight somebody not “fully man”. The implication here was that the (honest) Prime Minister is being used as a shield by his highly corrupt government against their fraudulent practices. This was an unfortunate choice of a word (‘Shikhandi’, brings all the connotations of social misfit, gender misfit, and a mask for heinous activities. This was, quite frankly, in poor taste). The speaker tried to explain that he had used it as a metaphor, and not literally. But what is interesting is the power of the metaphor to bring out such strong emotions. When metaphor has such strong emotional connect, imagine the power it would hold for innovation!

Metaphorical thinking is what allows problems to be connected to solutions across domains. A Guttenberg is able to invent the printing press by recognizing the metaphorical connect between the pipe organ playing in his church and the coin press he worked at. Unfortunately, we have forgotten the art of the metaphor relegating it to some “soft skill” that is only fit for students of literature. In our systems- and process-orientedness, we refuse to look beyond and see that metaphorical connect that can lead us to powerful new ideas and innovation.

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Just in! Our new Downloads section!

Skip rope to outperform the competition!The article “How to Outperform the Competition” explains the logic behind this metaphor. Read about it at the “Downloads” section of our website.

Innovation is important for enduring corporate excellence. But how do you enable innovation in an organization? Read the article “How to Enable Innovation in Organizations” to understand about the four enablers to innovation within organizations – People, Principle, Processes and Technologies.
Go to the “Downloads” section of our website for the complete article.

The Dreaded Stairs – Or is It?

Here is an interesting video that has been doing the rounds on the net for a while now. It shows how a group of engineers motivate people to take the stairs instead of the escalator.

Well, what do you think are the dominant intelligences/combination of intelligences that are in play here?

Putting on Vivekin’s lenses, I would say that the Inventive and the Operational are the key intelligences used in this project. And as it is done with the ‘greater good’ in mind (getting people to exercise by walking up the stairs), Ethical intelligence too. Your comments?