Friday, February 8, 2008

Metacognition on OODA and Innovation

The past week of postings have covered a diverse field of subjects, from emerging generations, to a changing America, and an examination of the OODA loop strategy, and how it relates to all aspects of life.

All of the above posts are linked to innovation and the adopting of new ideas and tools, that will effect human interaction. Steve DeAngelis adds to the ongoing discussion on innovation on his blog today entitled; Innovation Takes Hard Work. A most interesting innovation was shared by Steve with his readers, it came by way of an email.

"Speaking of intersectional innovation, I received an email from Frans Johansson with some interesting news for those of you who might not have read his best-selling book The Medici Effect. His publisher, the Harvard Business School Press, provided him with a pdf of the entire book, which can found on his web site Anyone can download it, post it, and share it with a It's the first time HBR has ever done anything like this. It's pretty innovative in its own right.

This all leads back to is metacognition, thinking about thinking, it is how we learn to, visualize and adopt those innovations to survive and flourish. When a society, or a person becomes complacent and feels that all their needs are met, they begin to stagnate. In a nutshell, this seems to have aflicted the United States, we seem to have let ourselves go on a binge after the end of the Cold War. We were on top, secure, rich, and envied by most of the world. Now, we are waking up to find we've spent our savings on a 18 year self-indulgent party. This can happen to people too, they become secure in their enviornment and allow themselves to be emotionally drugged by the ease of life.

Take for example someone who gets a great education in a field they truly love. Then they take a job that provides a good income, but it's boring and mundane. That person soon finds themselves drugged by the paycheck. The chance to make a contribution fueled by their passion, is delayed and takes a backseat to having a secure life. One day, that person comes to work and finds that their position has been eliminated. They are faced with the reality of reinventing themselves. The fear of surviving kicks in and they observe their situation, then orient themselves to their choices, and then decide what action to take. Failing to do this leads to economic and social destruction.

Human nature when faced with these circumstances, will find a way to succeed. I myself was a product of this complacency. It took a system perturbation, to make me see my world through a horizontal lense and act.

Examples can be found in Dr. John Kao’s book, Innovation Nation (Kao’s site is here) of how businesses and countries when faced with dire futures found ways to adopt and innovate their way to success. His book is more than a primer on telling America how to regain it's position as the most innovative nation in history. It is a lesson to everyone who reads it, that the true source of innovation is ingrained in our common heritage as humans. It is up to each of us to think about our own OODA loop and how to use it.

No comments: