October Word of the Month: Innovation

October Word of the Month: Innovation

by John Kennedy

There is a difference between being “creative” and being “innovative” and often times they are confused. This week, we share John's ReFresh Calendar for the Month of October and discover how innovation is the key to longevity in business.

Magical Thinking Tour

As some may know, I have a deep fondness for music and on occasion inject it into some of my presentations.  As an example, the very first time the world heard the sound of a synthesizer was on the opening of “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. It was ground breaking, it was unique, it was curious and it was certainly one thing--Innovative.

Earlier in music history, The Beatles were making ground breaking leaps and bounds with their styles and sounds of music and mystery…in fact, they were the very first to offer a “Double EP” (too much music of a regular EP and not enough for an album). It was the music for their “Magical Mystery Tour” film.

“Jump” ahead in time and we find Eddie Van Halen ripping the guitar solo of “Eruption” in their debut album “Van Halen” with sounds no one ever thought could come from a guitar. A truly innovative sound that still brings back memories of me driving around in my 1974 purple AMC Gremlin (YUP!) and blaring the music with the windows down.

What all three of these examples have in common is that they were innovative in their approach to music. Where they were taking us, no one had ever been before. The sounds they were creating, no one had ever heard before.  The method of their music-making had never been done before.  True innovators and trail blazers of their musical careers and achievements.

The challenge?  What comes next? How do you improve upon the art of innovation?  With Eddie Van Halen, he never really did. His music all began to sound the same, and other artists began to learn the VH way of playing and some even surpassed him.

I used to wait on Eddie and his family out in LA in the glory days of the late 80’s. He’s a great person and a gifted artist, but I always wanted to ask him— “What’s next after awesome?” I never did. And he never did either…He became “creative”.

Creativity is taking what was innovative and building upon it…but it’s not new anymore…it’s improved.

Innovation takes fearless courage, willingness to step out into a dessert where no footprints have been found before, or into a “space” where no one has ever ventured before, and planting your flag of innovation for all the world to see (or at least those who are in your circle of influence).  

In the book, “Riding the Blue Train” a book that I have introduced to almost all of my clients, the authors discuss “Magical Thinking” …an almost child-like mindset where anything is possible. Limitless options. There are no impossibilities…only possibilities. Bringing us back to the age of our youth where we could be, do, become, and accomplish anything our minds set out to achieve.

And then we ran head on into life as it really is…borders, guard rails, training wheels, rules, behaviors, norms, and my favorite—limiting beliefs!

Every innovator that has ever walked the face of the Earth has one thing in common—Unlimited Beliefs!

Anything is possible. There is a solution to every challenge. There are new things that are out there that have never been done, or thought, or accomplished before and they swim in that ocean of opportunity…not the pool or puddle of limiting beliefs.

So, I challenge you as we look to 2020 to consider “Magical Thinking” in your world. Look to innovate new ideas, approaches and solutions instead of building upon the most recent creative things you have chosen to do. If better is possible then good isn’t enough!

Creativity will propel you through the next year of 2020.

Innovation will launch you towards the next decade of 2030.

Aim for the moon and rock on!



Want to discuss the "INNOVATION" challenge for your business with John Kennedy? Call or email him!

John Kennedy
[email protected]
Cell: ‭443-605-7095

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as John Kennedy, Robert Hendrickson, Steve Bailey, Sid Raisch and Jean Seawright, are included in your retainer!


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