When we think about the most innovative organizations, Google and Apple are likely near the top of the list. Numerous articles have been published about each organizations’ approach to innovation. Google’s “culture of innovation” is built around four cornerstones—mission, transparency, voice and space—that nurture its environment. Apple’s innovative culture, from the return of founder Steve Jobs in 1997 to current CEO Tim Cook and his leadership team, has embodied the four traits common to many innovative organizations: creativity, collaboration, courage, and execution. The ability to innovate is one of the most critical attributes of a successful company. Key benefits include: the ability to compete more effectively, increased agility to respond to rapidly changing and emerging customer needs, and the ability to attract and retain the best talent.
At Pristine Creations, we have created the Quantum Innovation Circle (QIC). Key elements include: collaboration, connection, and alignment to mission. In addition, we have found that having diversity of perspectives, a fun, open and inclusive environment, and the courage to speak from the heart creates an environment in which future disruptive possibilities miraculously emerge. This approach to innovation obsoletes existing problems by:
- Tapping into an arising future
- Tapping into the collective intelligence of the team/organization
- Creating a transformative culture and paradigm shift
What are Quantum Innovation Circles?
A unique process that creates the conditions and environment for individuals to tap into the arising future and the collective intelligence of the team or organization resulting in a transformational experience. What emerges is disruptive innovation, inspired and engaged employees, and an agile and inclusive culture.
Quantum Innovation Circles are experiential based circles. We prioritize experiences as they arise in the moment over complex conceptual thinking, biases, beliefs and stories. Unlike brainstorming, a common innovation strategy, we use a unique combination of mind, heart and gut intelligence working in sync, alignment and high coherence to choose the best possible future available.
How are Quantum Innovation Circles different from traditional innovation practices?
In contrast to ordinary, traditional innovation approaches that rely heavily on mind activities, we create the conditions for a creative process led by a universal life force that is pristine, self-organizing, and complex yet in symbiotic relationship with all life. Bringing together a group of people in this manner results in an amplification effect, whereby the combined abilities of the group to innovate solutions is exponentially greater than the sum of the individuals’ capabilities.
Traditional creations often prioritize one group or one agenda over another. For example, an organization needed to cut down 10% of expenses across the board. Leadership asked each of the 10 departments to make a 10% cut. What they did not consider is the impact of reduced services between departments that would increase operational cost when implemented. In contrast, a Quantum Innovation Circle that included representatives from the 10 departments, yielded a different result by illuminating hidden non-essential services. Eliminating these hidden non-essential services achieved the cost reduction needed without compromising organizational effectiveness.
Innovation strategy often arises from the experiential biases that exist in strategic minds and can be referred to as a past derived future. We have done this in the past; therefore, we can do this next… According to the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, the brain is organized into two distinct systems – one that promotes focus on well-known tasks and another that promotes exploration and creativity. When the focus system is activated, the brain’s innovation system is shut down, and vice versa. That means when people have responsibilities involving duties they already know how to do, neurologically they cannot “think outside the box”.
Ordinary innovation processes tend to focus on solving a problem or looking for creative solutions. They tend to be created from the same mindset, beliefs and paradigms in which the problems were created. In contrast, the QIC approach requires that we step out of the water you normally swim in, out of the way of being, thinking and perceiving the reality in which we live every day. We create an environment where you can step completely into the unknown, into the quantum field of possibility.
What is the Quantum Innovation Circle experience?
Co-creation of pristine innovations is done in an environment that is playful, joyous, full of laughter and inspiring experiences. It’s about being present in the moment with mind and body and with the collective insight of all stakeholders. You align your connections with others, your energy and coherence level to illuminate and amplify all the synchronicities you encounter.
Each Quantum Innovation Circle is different as it emerges in a distinct way for each unique team engagement. However, there are three common elements in the QIC: 1) a basic quantum innovation circle structure starts with setting a clear intention and ensuring all team members are in 100% alignment with that intention; 2) each participant is encouraged to be fully present in the room with themselves and connecting to the other participants; and 3) a playful environment is created to enable access to the quantum field. If there are any conflicting intentions regarding the innovation topic, those must be addressed and resolved prior to beginning.
How much time does it take to complete a QIC experience? Every experience is unique based upon the individuals involved and the innovation initiative. It could be as brief as an hour on simple, singular topics to several day retreats for multifaceted, complex topics.
How Quantum Innovation Circles drive a cultural paradigm shift ?
We use Quantum Innovation Circles not only to tap into the arising future and collective intelligence but also to create a cultural transformation. Culture is believed to be a long process of emergence. Changing culture can take years and even decades. By creating powerful, emotional, collective experiences, we create the foundation for the emergence of a new culture on a much shorter timeline. A culture that is engaging, innovative and collaborative.
Leadership teams can then share their experiences with other teams in similar QICs thereby pollinating the rest of the organization with the new emerging cultural experience. As it turns out, the fast pace of technology and information are also accelerating the transformation of our culture without having to push the river. It is therefore becoming even more important to be clear on the kind of future culture you wish to create.
What allows for successful Quantum Innovation Circles?
The “experience” established for Quantum Innovation Circles is critical to foster a safe environment for people to tap into their deepest intuitive senses. According to Albert Einstein, “The Intuitive mind is a sacred gift, the rational mind a faithful servant, we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Facilitating such an experience may sound simple, but it is not easy to create the appropriate environment. Creating a high social coherence level requires both scientific based approaches and art. We have discovered that separating the context of the QIC from the content is a critical skill needed. Based upon early prototyping, we have learned that separating the facilitator(s) from content generators helps participants remain in their creative space while the facilitators focus on maintaining the integrity of the circle.
Quantum Innovation Circles can be used to address a wide range of business challenges. Here is a recent example where we worked with an organization at their annual strategic leadership offsite. A long list of strategies and priorities were identified. The organization had traditionally used a brain storming approach to pave the path forward for the year. By engaging in an QIC instead with our facilitation, it became clear that most of the organization’s challenges came down to scarcity of resources to get it all done. Through the QIC, the group came to the realization that there were infinite resources to tap into that were previously hidden from view. The path to utilize these resources became the main strategic objective for the year.
Innovation is not about what you already know. Innovation is about what you do not know that you do not know, yet. Quantum Innovation Circles are the games we play to invoke the unknown, that which is ready to be created and come to life. We invite you to incorporate Quantum Innovation Circles into your culture, meetings and strategy development as a common practice.
Steven Ringelstein & Gail Taylor-Smith