I meet people all the time who tell me nothing is
original. They say, there is nothing new to write, nothing new to say,
nothing new to invent. Don’t believe them. They’re wrong.
Oh, I suppose if you step back far enough every story can he reduced to
eleven plots, or every relationship can be captured in twelve patterns,
or every invention is really just another way to do one of ten things.
But, that level of abstraction really takes you away from day-to-day
life where insights and inspiration generate real novelty and along
with it enthusiasm, delight, and joy.
It’s in personal experience where inventiveness, ingenuity, creativity,
and breakthroughs create enjoyment, elation, and exuberance. This joie
de vivre lights up our lives and drives us to do wonderful things.
And even more than that, we live in the Age of Innovation.
I was giving a lecture at an intelligence agency here in DC about a
year ago – speaking about my last book, Getting Change Right. I was preceded by the
great thinker, Bill Eggers (more from him in my next book).
When I entered the room of 500 or so managers a large light above the
stage lit up, reading UNSECURE,
just so everyone knew what they could and could not discuss in my
So I had the opportunity to sit in the audience before my talk and
listen to Bill present prior to my taking the stage. He revealed trends
that truly seemed like magic, yet were already part of my life. He
spoke about new technological developments and global innovations that
were sweeping around the world and transforming our everyday
Bill’s insights and comprehensive research opened our minds to marvels
transforming society, disrupting the status quo and enabling powerful
new capacities for laypeople everywhere, even in the poorest of
After stunning us with his data and expanding our understanding, one
person in the audience raised his hand and asked, “When do we hit the
wall? When does all this become too much to keep up with?”
Without much hesitation Bill replied something like, “I hit the wall
years ago. The only thing now that really limits us is what we can
There’s plenty that is original and new – and I’m sure you have a piece
Now, let’s get on with it and create the future.
have bequeathed to thee, earn it anew if thou wouldst possess it.