Culture + Mindset Shift: The Next Big Idea

“Most of us spend our lives acting rationally in response to a world we recognize and understand but which no longer exists.” ~ Eddie Obeng

As the 21st century unfolds, it is increasingly apparent to us all that the majority of our systems, enterprises, educational institutions and organizations were designed for yesterday’s world. It’s as if all the rules about how our world works suddenly changed overnight and we woke up the next morning scrambling to adapt. How do we cope with this new challenge of ever lasting rapid change?

Clearly we need more creativity, more efficient methods for faster innovation, right?

If you search Amazon under ‘creativity’ you will find over 90,000 books you can access to help you. Go to Google and enter creativity + innovation and you will find even more resources- over 30 million hits related to these subjects. Certainly creativity and innovation are essential necessary ingredients, and ultimately provide the ‘key to unlock the door’, but we all know that new ideas and innovations fail and go through change at alarmingly fast rates and take time to perfect. The innovative changes we implement today might take 2 years or more to yield any results (assuming they work at all); leaving us far behind as change continues, on a daily basis, to occur.

With all the great leaders and books, workshops, seminars and conferences on leadership and management you would think our world would be pretty good at implementation at this point, wouldn’t you?  And yet our ideas about implementation and great leadership have come from a culture where smart people where able to dig deep to uncover the single most correct answer- ‘the thing to do’ and then charged to act upon it to produce ‘the result desired’. And that leadership and change management rule too was thrown out over night.

So where are the answers?

According to Venture Capitalist and Innovation Ecosystem Global specialist Victor Hwang:

“For the longest time, most of us believed that business was business. That emotion didn’t matter. That dispassionate, rational decision-making should dictate how we run organizations.


We now realize that innovation comes not from raw economic ingredients, whether land, labor, capital or technology. It comes from a recipe.

And that recipe is based on patterns of behavior at the individual level. That is, culture. Culture affects how efficiently people combine together to solve problems. This applies to all forms of economic activity: startups, incubators, corporate initiatives, mentoring programs, entrepreneurial education and so on.

The way people interact at the micro level affects the system at the macro level.

When you create a culturally rich innovation environment, ideas spread and grow like a weed in a rainforest. But we don’t transform culture by ordering people around. Or moving money from one pocket to another. Or constructing monuments to our own genius.

We change culture by starting at the foundation. We start with individuals. We build roots before branches. Innovation is basically the opposite of mass production. We don’t want predictable crops. We want weeds. And weeds are birthed from uncontrolled environments. A rainforest is a good example of an uncontrolled environment.

What causes weeds to flourish is what we can’t see. The most important things in Rainforests are our mindsets, our culture and these things are invisible. The good news is that mindsets can be changed and culture is free.”

Victor Hwang
The Rainforest Blueprint: How to Design Your Own Silicon Valley
Unleash an Ecosystem of Innovation in Your Company, Organization, or Hometown

In this interesting Ted talk, Eddie Obeng argues that instead of looking for the right answer at the right time, it’s about unlearning, as well as transforming how we think, how we work and who we connect with.

It seems that a cultural mindset shift might be the solution- the big idea- we all are looking for. 12 minutes is all you need to begin to understand how to transform your own.


About Lisa Canning

“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.”

Lisa Canning is the founder of IAEOU, the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (IAE) and Entrepreneur the Arts.

What motivates you to explore your creativity? Follow me @EntretheArts

Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.





Culture + Mindset Shift: The Next Big Idea

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