Cultivating Innovation

Kristin: Futurist Richard Watson writes that business is like gardening in Fast Company.  This is a good metaphor as it emphasizes the continuous nature of both ventures and the need for maintenance and care.  He admits that where his metaphor falls down is in framing innovation: “…innovations are like weeds. They grow where they’re not supposed to and cannot be cultivated like orchids in a greenhouse. You cannot sow weeds in any meaningful sense, you can only provide the conditions necessary for them to grow, which in many instances means leaving them well alone. Weeds thrive on neglect.” I would prefer to think about innovation like flowers, as least in my garden.  Sometimes they are carefully planted and encouraged, but more often than not they appear at different times of the year in places I’m not expecting.  They can come in clusters or as single blooms.  And unlike weeds, I’m encouraged to keep at least some of them.


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