Innovation Is Birthed from Disorder

by Al Etmanski on August 10, 2015

Tagged as: Gifts / Acceptance of Fallibility / Mystery / Raising Children / Local Economy / Food / Safety / Health / Land/Environment / Care of People on the Margin

Here’s some advice for the explorer in you who desires to make the world better, particularly the young bright sparks who are just setting out. Trust all your senses.

When your experience compels you to seek something different and your intuition beckons you off the beaten track, be wary of voices that try to bring intellectual order to your exploration too soon.

You are, after all in the sacred headwaters of hunches, disquiet and ambiguity. This is the birthplace of insight, invention and innovation.

Hunches, disquiet and ambiguity are the birthplace of insight, invention and innovation.

These voices may be inside or outside your head.

Here’s one I try to resist: “That’s just like so and so is doing. You should read their report, buy that book or watch this presentation…”

There may well be value in comparing experiences intellectually. But if done too soon it will draw you back into your head. And that’s what you need to escape from.

Before you know it, your authentic and unique experience will be coloured by someone else’s. And you may end up adopting or adapting to what you’ve read about. Which may be fine. But you won’t have a basis for comparison. And the breakthrough you were on course to discovering remains elusive.

It’s a fine balance, but sense-making involves other senses besides the intellect.

Insight like childbirth requires a long gestation. No matter how many books you read, it is still based on personal experience.


Perfectly ordered disorder,

Designed with helter-skelter magnificence.

— Emily Carr

and you won’t give up the search
for the ghosts in the halls…

— from Sarah McLaughlan’s Building a Mystery


Re-posted by permission of Al Etmanski from his blog Home page image: See-Ming Lee photo of Mixed Media Painting (Detail) by Choichun Leung 2009.