What has a playwright from 100 years ago got to do with innovation?

The playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) may not have known that in 2016 there would be driverless cars, payments at the speed of light from mobile phones, human organs being printed from machines, or interplanetary living projects underway…

What he did know about however, was that in order make progress in any endeavour, it was the thinking and attitudes that were most important.

He said:

“Progress is impossible without change,

and those who cannot change their minds, 

cannot change anything”

Being in agreement with this creates a belief that all progress and therefore innovation is created, or destroyed, in a person’s mind in first instance (or in the collective mind of an organisation if it’s a group effort).

The most innovative people and organisations, in business or otherwise, are often the ones who are able to change their minds when necessary, not out of personal insecurities, or because they are impressionable, rather it’s because of they have a lack of need to be right from a personal ego perspective.

If we subordinate our need to be right, and place our desired outcome as being of higher importance, then we are genuinely in the innovation zone.

Many people I meet are looking for ideas on how to innovate, how to build that type of culture in their companies and their lives and they want to know what the actual steps are.

What I sometimes offer up as a starting point is this subordination of ego to outcomes philosophy or culture.

So, if it does begin in the mind (and it does), then it is there and only there that you can first move from inertia to progress, and that is what sparks off innovation.

Yes there are techniques and models which you can use from that point onwards to innovate.

How can we apply this thinking and do so in a practical way – whether it’s personally, professionally, in business, intimate relationships, mentally, financially, etc?

Well, maybe when we’re creating new goals or dreams what if we asked:

What is it that I need to first change in my own mind in order for me to have this?


What do I believe to be true that isn’t?


What do I believe to be true that is no longer true?


Do I really need to be right?

This is not about self-criticism. It’s the opposite.

It’s simply about being ok to let go of the old and bring in the new – first in the mind and then materially.