Many people know or sense the system is damaged but we don’t know what to do about it. At the core of this brokenness is a lack of trust. More than that, there is a great amount of distrust. Distrust in institutions: distrust in each other, even distrust in ourselves.
Every system is evolving but where it evolves is up to us.
The focus must not be on action but on interaction: interaction that provides the inspiration to allow for innovative solutions. Solutions based on an infusion of ideas produced by a synergistic effect in which solutions surface not just as the result of competition but also collaboration. Magic only happens with each team building on the results of each other team. In this way an idea emerges not as the result of any one member, but as the product of the whole.
But how does this work in practice? The latest research reveals that innovation is a complex adaptive system in which ideas are incubated in conditions that allow solutions to surface. Solutions are an emergent phenomenon that are not the result of any one single actor but the interactions of all the actors. The key, however, lies in the nature of connection.
Connection is not just a feeling or a condition, however. It is hardwired into our brains. The latest neuroscientific research reveals also that our brains are hardwired to work collaboratively because that is the way ideas form in the first place. Using the principle of synaptic efficiency, our brains link neurons together and as the connections become stronger, they also become able to work faster, allowing us to form connections more quickly often between concepts where we did not see a connection before. This should not be a surprise us.
Ten thousand years ago, as the first homo sapiens huddled together in caves, what allowed us to survive was not competition but collaboration.
But this is not the only path we can take. Just as our brains sense threats they can also sense rewarding experiences. These experiences typically happen as we work with others in achieving a common purpose, be it producing a product or protecting the planet. These experiences also release neurotransmitters that reinforce a positive experience, thus creating a positive instead of negative feedback loop.