In a recent conversation with Phil McKinney, former HP Chief Innovation Officer and author of Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation, we discussed innovation and theory.
McKinney said that much of the literature about innovation comes from theorists, not practitioners. I responded that some of us assert practical innovation insights informed by very different experiences.
Rather than learning about innovation through an Executive Innovation MBA program, or receiving an MBA in Innovation Management, I sat in hours of workshop classes learning to write poetry. The experience of reading, writing, reviewing, and publishing poetry has informed all of the innovations that I have had the pleasure of helping co-create, from the Surface Mount Assembly Reasoning Tool (SMART) at Western Digital to the Center for Information Work at Microsoft.
American state and national legislators and leaders relentlessly harp on the need for STEM (an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math that suffers as a marketing tool due to its meaningless abstraction), but this mindset does not recognize the need for well-rounded, culturally connected, researchers and readers who extend themselves beyond simple categories of knowledge in order to create innovation. Poetry does not find valor under the auspices of STEM. Our future is as much threatened by the lack of imaginative connection-making as it is from a dearth of engineers or mathematicians.
Read the entire article at Fast Company.