Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Role of Reflection Enhancing the Innovation Process

The only thing that remains constant in life and business is change and change takes work, time, and effort. It can be painful, powerful, or positive, or a twisted combination of them all. Life is transitioning from change to change to change…..and reflection enhances the change process in big and small ways. It allows us to examine the process by which everything is connected. To scrutinize organizational essence in regards to the human element with relationships as well as the mechanistic processes (laws, rules, and procedures) that exist in connection with the human factor. We must take risks, face our own issues, and embrace our own evolution in an ever-evolving environment. Breaking everything down and looking behind the scenes allows us to see things with a new perspective and to begin to create a shift in the way we observe the “whole” and the way we think about problems and about solutions. “Seeing the interplay between system dynamics and individuals is a dance of discovery that requires several iterations between the whole and its parts” (Wheatley, 2003, Ch. 28) Reflection allows us to look closely at the world around us and how we fit into that world, but most importantly at ourselves and how we can change, progress, better ourselves, our efforts, and our effectiveness. We need to beware however of the “incongruity of asking for change in others while failing to exhibit the same level of commitment” ourselves (Quinn, 2003, Ch. 29, p. 519). “One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment” and we cannot begin to change for the future without looking at, pondering, and reflecting upon our past (Quinn, 2003, p. 522). Gandhi said it best, “be the change”.

Wheatley, M.J. (2003). Change: The Capacity of Life, Chapter 28. Business Leadership: A Jossey-Bass reader. Retrieved September 23, 2008 from

Quinn, R.E. (2003). The Fear of Change and Why Risk is Necessary, Chapter 29. Business Leadership: A Jossey-Bass reader. Retrieved September 23, 2008 from

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