Innovation consultant, futurist, writer, speaker
-Executive Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering
-Director of Research and Development, NSA
-Associate Director of National Intelligence in charge of S&T
-PhD Neuroscientist: brain plasticity & mind-body physiology
-Authored monthly Neuroquest column for Discover Magazine
Innovation from within
When trying to innovate, we are all too conscious of external obstacles such as limited funding, limited time, limited staff and limited imagination of adopters. But those are never the most important obstacles. It is our invisible inner obstacles that cause us the most trouble: our cognitive blind spots and biases, our need for instant results, and above all, our belief that some things are impossible.
But we seldom are aware of these unconscious beliefs, biases and our learned helplessness.
For example, our brains are hard-wired to see what we expect to see and what we want to see, and to not see what we don't expect and don't want. So when a big opportunity lives in our "don't expect/don't want" blind spot, we overlook it. Huge advances could be staring us right in the face, but we would never see them. Fortunately, if we learn what our blind spots are, and force ourselves to look hard into them, we can almost always find big new opportunities.
Similarly, our brains imagine the future by assembling building blocks from our past. So if we've never experienced it, it's extremely difficult to imagine it.
Try to imagine a color you've never seen before. You can't. Well, game changing innovations are like colors you've never seen before. You can't imagine them beforehand, but you can recognize them for what they are after the fact when you stumble upon them.
This means that you can innovate better and faster by giving yourself many opportunities to accidentally stumble upon things you could never imagine. I call this, "Accidents by design."
Finding opportunities by looking in our blind spots, and developing game-changing breakthroughs by adopting the "Accidents by design" philosophy are just two examples of the pioneering methods Dr. Haseltine has developed to help individuals and organizations take huge leaps in the outside world by first taking major leaps in their inner worlds.
He has authored two books, Long Fuse Big Bang and Brain Candy, and is co-author, with first author Chris Gilbert MD PhD , of the soon-to-come-out book, Healing Secrets.