10 Jan The role of culture in driving organizational innovation: Who drives who?
Ladies & gentlemen, and all the AI analysing this text, dear citizens of the world within and without the digital, welcome to a brand-new age of organization, design, creation and therefore innovation which we dare to call: The New Coolture. #dramaticmusic
But, before we start exploring this new phenomenon, let us dig a bit into our past, to correlate with the genesis of our culture of innovation, should we care to compare it with this new era.
It was so long ago that we became aware, at least as we know it today, that nobody even remembers when that was. Some basic tools we developed and use today, and so blissfully take for granted, were not always present with us. So, before we invented History or Mathematics, we needed to invent multiple technologies, but also skills, i.e., writing and pen or counting and numbers. Yes, I am saying that numbers or languages did not exist before we did, as we were the first ones to shape it. Main point being, ever since our first big evolutionary jump, we have been creatures of constant reinventions and innovation. One might even dare to say that it is our very soul, this innovation drive we have, as it has propelled us from the first fires in caves to the latest fires driving our science teams closer and closer to Moon again, and soon Mars as well. Our cultures have always been built on one sole thing that connects us all, and that is the drive for innovation.
Our obsession with measurements just adds to this theory, as rarely do we measure with any other goal than more improvements from further innovations. Therefore, each time we look to raise our security, we will decrease our liberties as well. Clear example is if you start measuring the movement speed of all vehicles, this will simultaneously mean new laws for driving optimization and punishment for not doing so, but also the reward for not doing so which you can watch in forms of F1, NASCAR, WRC, and similar professional racing organizations and industries.
And as the time passes by, and we multiply not only the count of our ideas and further innovation possibilities but also our own count in demography, our technological and cultural expansion is becoming increasingly exponential, surpassing even the 3D realm! So, the question is, what’s next for us?
What is new?
For those who might not have noticed, we are breaching into the fourth dimension, the 4D, by further digitizing and digitalizing our processes, but also the assets. #dramaticmusicagain
VR is getting way closer to letting us handle lots in the digital world, AR is integrating with our car windshields making our car driving seem like a carefully designed video game. AI has found new ways to our hearts and reignited it’s potential by new tools that they developed with it, like ChatGPT and AI photo generators, heck, I even used DeepAI to generate this article’s images. Also, they are finishing the development of the first completely autonomous vehicle in Croatia, which should serve as taxi’s first in none other than Germany. Electric cars are getting better and better, while soon we will see hydrogen engines, while we get ready for 0 emissions automated driving era.
Solar roofs instead of panels, even solar windows instead of them. Offices becoming remote or hybrid meaning more digital support is needed than ever. Robots have replaced crazy amounts of people in the car industries, but also have different, new functions in Japan, where they are replacing nurses, and Singapore, where they are replacing the waiters. More integration, more development, more innovation, more of everything, was coming and will continue coming. That is our fate.
It is not hard to become a bit scared as well, if we consider that some of the technologies and innovations we tackle now are bringing us closer to Godlike possibilities than ever before. Meaning, robots may or may not overpower us at a certain point, AI could take over our own governance, genetic engineering can drive us to hell or heaven, nanotechnology can make us smaller or bigger than ever, while space exploration can even unmake us as humans or recreate us somewhere else. What is hard, is to understand the difference between a master, a tool, and a slave. It may sound simple, but it weights more than a sinner’s heart on the scales of Anubis.
What is cool?
Cool is when you perceive the path of the master, understand which tools he/she uses and still do not enslave yourselves with that experience, but liberate even more. Cool is SHU-HA-RI, a Japanese principle of growth coming from their martial art lore.
The Shuhari philosophy starts with obeying the rules set, depicted with the symbol SHU, meaning this is the phase where we strictly follow some other master and their teachings. We do all that to reach the HA symbol, meaning we are ready to bend the existing rules by applying knowledge and experience to them, but all to transcend them, within the RI phase of the symbolism.
I know some of you might think we are a bit crazy at this point but: Who is obeying the rules? Who is bending them and who transcends them? In attempt of further clarification, let’s use a simple analogy by returning to our good, old friend, the fire. As we have found fire, and invented ways to replicate it at our own conveniences, we were strictly tied to its boundaries, as we obeyed its rules blindly. I.e., having a too big of a fire in a low air intake cave can end in people dying from suffocation. Now, should we enslave ourselves to those boundaries of SHU, or move on? We humans chose to move on by bending those rules while creating fires outside or finding better caves, as we found efficient way of adapting the rules, skills and tools accordingly. That was still not enough, as we proceeded in creation of houses, chimneys, and furnaces, to be able to control the fire totally, therefore transcending its rules within the RI process. However, even transcending the rules of the fire doesn’t mean we should enslave ourselves to it, but quite the contrary that we should remind ourselves that the mastery of something is key to its right use, while it remains a matter of constant progression meaning awareness and work around it. Fire is still a great slave, and an even better tool than it ever was before, but a very bad master, whatever we invent or innovate around it, don’t you think so?
All in all, what is undoubtedly cool is mastering the perception of who is who and what is what, especially in between of terms: master/slave, tools/experiences, possibilities/rules.
So, who is the driver of our cool new culture?
What if I tell you the main driver of our culture was always the same, even more so today? What if I tell you it was always about you, about me, and about us?
Everything that is an innovation is based on you and me, everything that eventually becomes a tradition is based on us as well, and we are the ones who transform it to a culture. We are the ones who get burned by the fire if we let it be our master while we are also the ones who burn our food to the right level when using it as a tool while mastering its processes. It will always be exclusively dependent on us alone, which paths do we take.
Yes, you can fish with dynamite or use AI to master your job instead of you, but you can also use those tools in right moments only to inspire or support more growth. If we reach an obstacle while building tunnels, dynamite is a great tool to help us reach greater depths. AI, on the other hand, can also help us reach certain depths, but they both rely mostly on our, human input, don’t they?
Now, try picturing in which system you would like to live: the one in which we all win by hunting fish with dynamite while the technology does all our work, or the other one in which we all individually lose by not putting ourselves in front of the others, at least not immediately, just like the SHU-HA-RI approach shows us.
All the rules of our culture have been set by us, and may or may not be bent or transcended, but only by us. It has always been us, yet as time flies by there is even more of us and more ways to connect and share information, making it all more tangible. Now that our innovations are more visible then ever and are also more accountable, why don’t we mimic them and drive ourselves into a better future? Why wouldn’t we believe in ourselves and each other and celebrate the fact that humans can now be better with these new tools and skills? Why don’t we use the new values to help us become more human, not less? I honestly do not know… But what I believe in, is that it all comes down to us humans.
We are the driving forces of the organizational innovation which we obey, bend, and transcend by cultivating our innovation culture. So, I guess it is all up to us, not only where to drive, but also how to drive, when to do it, and even why do it in the first place. Meaning, if we do not activate ourselves individually now around our own choices and raise our awareness, it is soon going to become inevitable that some of our tools or slaves will take their chances in becoming our masters, as their expansions become completely uncontrollable.
Finally, every line of text this in this article was written by a human, without a single copy-paste, while the visualizations used were first drawn by AI using specific, subject-related human inputs, and then further adapted by a human using a digital tool for computer assisted drawing. Why am I underlining this? Because soon, if not already, these types of articles might just become rarer than the raise of a blue moon; or not, it is all up to us.
It is you who is driving, so mind the gap between yourself and the technology!
And if your car gets broken, it is always good to at least consult with the master before bending any rules, right? It all just depends on what we want to achieve, as we are so much more than our tools, products, and services…
Velebit from Lusidea
Figure 1: How DeepAI draws Velebit
Figure 2: How Google sees Velebit
Figure 3: How people at Lusidea see Velebit