“There are no facts about the future.” I don’t know who first said that, but I keep coming across it lately and I agree. It’s not possible to draw factual conclusions about things that haven’t happened yet (although that doesn’t stop us from trying)...which raises an interesting question: How useful are facts in evaluating innovative ideas?
If we want sustained robust innovation in our companies and economies, at the very least we need to stop treating our creativity like something with an on/off switch. We need to recognize creativity as the sustained cognitive function it is and the sustained business function it needs to become…always on.
When it comes to innovation, making good predictions isn’t about trying to discern where the world is headed as much as where we might take the world. It’s an imaginative process (often just as imaginative as coming up with ideas in the first place). Innovation is not about predicting the future we’re expecting but rather achieving the future we want to create.
On this Independence Day here in the U.S. there is perhaps no more appropriate time to be writing about innovation. Our founding fathers (and less-credited founding mothers) were unquestionably among the greatest innovators of all time.