A personification of innovation as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.(Source:Wikipedia)

A personification of innovation as represented by a statue in The American Adventure in the World Showcase pavilion of Walt Disney World's Epcot.(Source:Wikipedia)

Hi, everyone.

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on innovation.  I’ve been interested in this because Uranus, the planet that represents innovation, is moving from Pisces into Aries next year.  I’ve often found if I can thoroughly understand the present, I can usually predict the future. So I’m committed to understanding what has unfolded in business innovation in the last seven years so I can advise my clients about what to expect when Uranus moves into Aries.

One of the books I’ve been studying is Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s SuperCorps:  How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good.  Moss Kanter outlines seven classic skills for innovation and I thought I’d restate them in astrological terms.  See if you resonate more with one or another.

1.     Tune into the broader context:  see needs and opportunities through firsthand experience with the wider world

What’s wrong in our world?  What needs fixing?  Some of the best ideas come from firsthand experience, situational awareness, of the world beyond the borders of our businesses.  To increase this awareness, some companies send their employees into actual customer situations.   Proctor and Gamble sent a high-ranking manager to live with a low-income family with two babies for a week to get a feel for the real lives of their Brazilian customers. 

In astrology, a strong Jupiter influence indicates a leader who wants to explore alternate ways of being, thinking, living, and learning – someone who can recognize need and opportunity.

2.     “Kaleidoscope thinking”:  turn conventional wisdom on its head and find creative approaches that let a new pattern form

I love this image, “kaleidoscope thinking”, don’t you?  Where you take all of the factors and everything you think you know about them and then splinter them into new pieces to let a new pattern emerge.  Sounds like taking the wisdom of the known (Saturn) and putting it through the looking glass of innovation (Uranus) and creativity (Neptune).

3.     Articulate a compelling vision:  formulate an idea people can believe in and sell it effectively

Sometimes a compelling vision comes from deep in the leader’s creative heart (Neptune) and sometimes from the ground up, from the people around us (Uranus).  Formulating it into an idea (Mercury) that engages people at their core (Neptune), we then need to communicate well and effectively (Mercury).

4.     Build a coalition of committed backers and supporters:  engage stakeholders whose support is necessary to move forward

This point is about keeping everyone with an interest in the project up to date and informed at every step of the way.  Dropping that email to a colleague, reporting on progress to a potential client, building a relationship with a blogger who can let their contacts know what’s coming.   And often you don’t know which supporter will be important at some step in the future, so the impetus must come from a genuine sense of inclusion.  Stakeholders, backers, supporters, these are all represented by the Moon and all that communication takes a strong and active Mercury.

5.    Develop and support the working team:  motivate people to work hard for a common goal 

Where does the common goal come from?  It may come from the leader (the Sun) but these days it is more and more a product of the working team, through their deep understanding of the needs of the end user, the customer.  And how do you develop and motivate the team?  Development comes from training and exposure (Jupiter) and motivation is a process of understanding and meeting people’s needs (Moon) and aspirations (Mars).    

As Moss Kanter says, “A vanguard company is only as good as its leaders’ ability to attract, motivate, and retain skilled people and enable them to self-organize and collaborate.” 

6.     Persist and persevere through the difficult middle stages when innovation is still fragile

Many innovative ideas are hatched in a piecemeal fashion and it’s not until they are implemented that fundamental challenges are uncovered.  When persistence and perseverance (Saturn and Mars) are working together there is willingness to keep on keeping on until all of the underlying issues are exposed (Pluto) and resolved.

7.     Celebrate success by making everyone a hero

This is where the leader steps aside and celebrates everyone in the organization.  And that means everyone.  Celebration of each milestone is extremely important to everyone in the company and fosters a spirit of ongoing innovation and enterprise.  Celebrating (Jupiter and Venus) all of the workers (Moon) leads to creative innovation.  You never know where the next inspiration will come from! 

Did any of these classic skills resonate more with you than others?  It may be you have more of that planet’s influence in your chart.  Keeping all of them in mind and working on developing one or two will keep innovation fresh in us and in those around us.

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