Posted by: knightbird | January 9, 2012

Innovation and Creativity

While on personal leave last week, I read Paul G. Allen’s book titled “Idea Man: A Memoir of the Cofounder of Microsoft.” What a great read. Allen and I share a few common life threads. We were both born in 1953. He attended the Lakeside School in Seattle. I went there for a summer enrichment program for poor kids. We were both enamored by science, outer space, sports and music while growing up. He made more out of his interests than I was able to and as a result, he is incredibly rich and able to indulge his passions. While I am not incredibly rich, I am able to indulge some of my passions.

What is fascinating about the book are the creative insights that Mr. Allen had, and continues to have. On his first trip to Japan, Mr. Allen commented about the transfer of technology manufacturing capability to the Japanese. They worked harder and had greater focus and purpose than we do. We are suffering problems because of what Mr. Allen noticed those many years ago. An article titled “Five myths about the American dream” in The Washington Post said the following: “Our research showed a stunning lack of confidence in U.S. institutions. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed believe that America is in decline; 83 percent said they have less trust in “politics in general” than they did 10 or 15 years ago; 79 percent said they have less trust in big business and major corporations; 78 percent said they have less trust in government; 72 percent reported declining trust in the media.”

It’s sad to think that so many of us believe that we are in decline, but so many of our leaders believe that we are superior. We should be supporting creativity and innovation. Lean Thinking does that. We should be competing using best processes. Lean Thinking allows us to do that. We should be spending less on government and receiving more in services. Lean Thinking can help us achieve both goals.

There is so much more that was interesting to me in Mr. Allen’s book. I highly recommend it. This man had a prominent place in developing how we work and think today. He is inspirational in my mind.

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