Innovation Competency #1 – Solution-Centered Mindset

The phenomenon of seeing what we expect or want to see is called “mindset.” It functions all the time, consciously or unconsciously, for better or worse. Your mindset reflects your sense of purpose, and your sense of purpose organizes your purpose. In other words, purpose determines perception.

A solution-centered mindset gives you access to a wide range of tools for innovating.

Thomas Edison’s purpose was clear: “bringing out the secrets of nature and applying them for the happiness of man.” He believed that his success was inevitable and this belief energized his every endeavor. Edison’s unwavering focus on finding solutions allowed him to embrace incredibly complex challenges and overcome many setbacks.

His solution-centered mindset allowed him to embrace seemingly fantastic goals – like lighting the world – and make them come true. Edison aligned his goals with his passions and cultivated a powerful sense of optimism that had a magnetic, positive effect on his coworkers, investors, customers, an d ultimately the entire nation. It’s called charismatic optimism.

Edison’s passion for his goals and his charismatic optimism were nurtured by an unrelenting desire to learn, especially by reading. Throughout his life, Edison devoured books, plays, journals, magazines, scientific papers, and newspapers. Edison’s voracious reading created a constant stream of ideas, insights, and inspiration that led him to breakthrough solutions. His never-ending quest for greater depth and breadth of knowledge helped him develop an unprecedented approach to experimentation in service of innovation. His experiments were characterized by a remarkable combination of persistence and rigorous objective that accelerated his success.

A solution-centered mindset is the launching pad for the realization of your most ambitious innovation objectives and the fulfillment of your highest personal aspirations.

Next: Kaleidoscopic Thinking

Read an overview of Edison’s Five Competencies for Innovation here.

This material adapted from Innovate Like Edison, by Michael J. Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott

A multi-part series being reposted in honor of Thomas Edison’s birth

February 11, 1847