KUC Blog: Spirituality in Innovation

By Paul Earle

I’m fortunate to have a reasonably interesting job. In a nutshell, our team helps our partners figure out what they should create next, and then we design itwhatever it is. The thing might be a physical object, or something intangible like a service or other form of designed experience, or a perhaps a new brand.

The fancy word for the outcome of this work is innovation. (Now, this term is unfortunately so broadly used these days that it is beginning to lose meaning, but that’s what I’ll call it at the moment)

It is not lost on me, and many people in the innovation profession, that there are so many links between our work and key themes of spirituality. For one, we share some of the same language: creation, and design are two obvious examples. We also aim to create things that are not only useful, but beautiful, and inspiring. “Consider the lilies,” we do.

In my career, I have never worked with a great creative person or any other great innovation professional who does not believe that something bigger is out there: an ideal that is worth seeking even without a full grasp of what it is. These folks are comfortable with risk, namely, going forward with an idea with a full understanding that there are variables they don’t know and can’t control.

You might call that step into the unknown a leap of faith, right? It is, by definition, irrational! Yet taking this faithful leap is required to achieve anything meaningfully new, and good. Even scientists—for whom rationality and objective facts are foundational—often will tell you that some of mankind’s most important discoveries may never be completely explained.

So speaking of being fortunate, and as we contemplate innovation, please note that we have an exceptionally great guest at the Kenilworth Union “Faith & Leadership” series on the evening of Thursday, February 25: my friend and cohort Professor Robert Wolcott. If you want to talk innovation, Rob is your guy; he is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network at Northwestern, amongst other things, and is a popular lecturer on innovation, all over the world.

In addition to being an innovation expert, Rob also happens to be someone for whom faith is important. Personally I’m looking forward to hearing his views on both topics… and the nexus between the two.

We look forward to seeing you at this free event. Forward this invitation to a friend.faith-and-leadership-poster

Robert Wolcott,
Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Kellogg Innovation Network (KIN) and
a Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management

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