Make Connections And See What Emerges!

I love to make connections; both between people and between ideas, and seeing what will emerge ...

Gary Klein, in his book Seeing What Others Don’t argues passionately for organisations to facilitate 'insights and novelty' and accept that some ideas won’t flourish.

"Like poppies that need the hard soil of the earth to be disturbed before they can flourish, so ideas have their time and need their usual terrain disrupted a bit!"

Now, is most definitely the time for ideas and innovation around the whole subject of our use and abuse of our planet and it’s resources. It’s easy to see this as a time of despair and panic, but I believe that this innate ability to think laterally and come up with novel solutions is possible.

The solutions will, I believe, come from many small and novel solutions. I want to share my two favourites with you as they cover two different challenges the green solution faces:

- Clearing up the mess we’ve already made

The Great Bubble Barrier in Amsterdam, creates bubbles in the canals that swirl the plastic together and deposits it to the side where it can easily be removed. One of the co-inventors drew on an observation he had as a student watching swirling water in a water treatment plant have the same effect as a by-product and no-one had thought to take it further.

- Replacing the polluters with acceptable alternatives

Dr Carmen Hijosa developed Pinatex, amazingly made from the throwaway tops of pineapples as a replacement for leather. A leather expert herself, she was shocked by the pollution of the leather and tanning industry in the Philippines, but had the insight to see a solution with the traditional clothes of local people made from plant fibres, especially pineapple tops. Not quite so perfect as the lining does use a petroleum-based resin, but a better alternative for shoes than plastics.

Now, both these ideas started with one person making the connections, however, we can all make new connections and spark ideas whilst staring out the window of the car in a traffic jam or in conversation with someone at a conference.

What will make the difference is taking that spark and turning into a real-world new product or system. In both these cases, the inventor then turned to a team of collaborators to help them develop the idea.

So, my tip for you today is to go looking for new connections. Invest your time to:

- open those email invites to various events and consider going to some
- subscribe to some different groups on social media
- read outside your usual discipline
- build a wide and diverse network of contacts
- attend events where ideas outside your speciality are discussed

And lastly, I’m sure many of you will have read of novel products or services that grew out of chance connections, or maybe you even had some yourself? I’d love you to share them through the comment section below.


If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.