I hope that all is well with all of you and your families. Let’s hold tight, and we will see each other soon at the other end of this tunnel. I am optimistic about it.
Just got off a fantastic call with Björn Schalles, a great entrepreneur and person that really wants to make an impact, again. He has been responsible for SchalU, a social entrepreneurship successful project in Germany that has changed the lives of so many kids. He is one of those individuals that, once you are in connection with, you’d love to hear as frequently as possible. He is a volcano of ideas, values-based, and he shares them without hidden agendas. He is a giver and one that really wants to make an impact in the world. I am so privileged to have met him (virtually, Covid-networking). I hope that I can still learn and share a lot with him and possibly be part of his future ventures.
Thanks for being with me again. In this blog, I will start sharing the last ingredient of my innovation philosophy and strategy. So far, I have described the Aggregation Pond (AP) and the network. The first is the container that allows innovation to happen. It serves for ideas, knowledge, people, currents, to find a location and float around. It is not fixed in size and requires maintenance. There are tools that I have described to expand it (at least they work for me) and tactics to keep it crystal clean and vibrant. It can also positively resonate with AP of other individuals (within our network) to create “oceans of innovation”, a concept that I will introduce in a later blog. It stems from the non-zero-sum game attitude, which can be exponential in its outcome. The network is a “necessary but not sufficient” component for this to happen. Having a vibrant and fertile network is great for innovation, and, I reckon it is a very healthy way of living my life. My network is one of the sources of my present happiness, and it is part of my future vision: two aspects that I try to balance as much as possible. The network allows me to feel the belonging, be more creative, have more impact, provide and receive a safety net where to bounce in challenging times.
Enough for the AP and the network. What would be a pond full of stuff (ideas, people, fish, plants, etc.) if there was no current? What if there was no way for these elements to flow in and out, move around and bounce? It would end up being stagnant. The lack of oxygen is what causes this, together with bacteria that are part of this living ecosystem. In the same way, the oxygen and flow that we need in our AP is the life-blood that creates the condition for crystal clear, fertile, water. That is where the XQs get into the play.
I personally think that the balance between the four XQs is the best recipe for innovation, but this is my balance and my recipe. I am pretty sure that many innovators around me are functioning with a different strategy and idea, and their innovations and creative thinking have been successful, nevertheless. Is an unbalanced XQs detrimental for innovation? Probably not. Is it deleterious for the sustainability of the AP and the innovation process? I believe so. In my own experience, a balanced XQs is conducive to innovation and to a more joyful, fulfilling life. But that’s me and my experience.
IQ is undoubtedly the most known type of intelligence, the one that has dominated the literature and history until a very recent time. Emotional, Social and Metaphysical intelligence are infants in terms of the research, knowledge and comprehension. With IQ, I personally refer to cognitive intelligence. This is the ability of humans to learn, remember and associate things, make judgments, solve problems. This is considered the part of our reasoning that is mostly associated with the left part of the brain. From this simple yet powerful and comprehensive definition, I can already feel the power of IQ for innovation. The AP has been created and maintained. The network provides connections. IQ provides some of the necessary ingredients for innovation to happen. It provides the ideas, knowledge, fragments, memories, skills, associative power, that are the foundation of creativity. In my AP, IQ plays a fundamental role: it allows me to add more “bubbles of knowledge” which derive from continuous learning. It provides the medium through which bubbles are recorded, my memory. It helps in finding combinations of ideas, memories, people. It offers solutions to a specific category of problems, and it is the source of critical thinking. I cannot be innovative without IQ. Expanding IQ in all of its aspects (knowledge, memory, problem-solving) is part of my strategy to become more creative and impactful. It provides more bubbles in my AP, it maintains the existing one in a healthy state, and provide one of the streams necessary for creative thinking to happen.
IQ is not fixed at birth. Plenty of researches show that cognitive intelligence evolves during the life span. However, criticism of the way it is evaluated has always existed and will most likely continue. There are ways to stimulate our learning and intelligence, and it is evident that some are very effective and have been employed for centuries. What is my personal recipe to enhance my IQ?
Learning is clearly the methodology that has been mostly used and useful so far, for humanity. For me, it is the same. Continuous learning is a strong passion of mine, and it pushes me to break the boundaries of my current knowledge, ideally daily. Sometimes I learn organically (following a theme that is directly connected to my job or the projects and innovation I am currently involved in). Sometimes it is uncorrelated, and it provides a lens to view the reality from a completely different perspective.
Reading, which used to be one of the primary forms of learning, is now scientifically proven to stimulate the enrichment of cognitive intelligence. The advent of fMRI and PET demonstrated how the brain is impacted in its structure and functionality by reading. Because of its use of possibly all the cognitive functions of the brain, reading is for me the best “gym for IQ”. I read to keep myself informed, to learn, to explore, to have fun. I use my kindle, Blinkist and Scribd as a source of books (fiction and non-fiction to have fun and to keep my IQ healthy.
Meditation is part of my daily life. I started 5 years ago. I have heard a lot about it, and I was very sceptical. I decided to try it with little experiments, and make my own idea about it. It has become part of my morning ritual. It has improved my life overall, has attracted positive results and positivity in general, and allegedly has increased my IQ. Of all the things that I do and I introduce in my life, meditation has been the one with the most considerable ROI on multiple planes.
Physical exercise, regularly, helps IQ. The Romans knew it, and I made it mine too. I have increased my fitness activity during the pandemic, using the many apps that allow me to practice at home. I am very fond of those that use the bodyweight for improving the strength and power, but I am using the cardio ones too.
Drinking coffee and green tea also seems to be relevant for IQ, through the help for attention. Once again, this is a territory where pro and cons have good ideas and proofs. Personally, the right amount of coffee and green tea promotes my attention and energy, without become jittery. The success is in the balance, and I have found a good one.
There are more ways to boost IQ. Ideally having a healthy relationship with night sleep is fundamental not only for IQ but for a healthy, happy life. This is an aspect on which I can make an improvement, and I am working on it.
Recent studies show that socializing, i.e.one form of networking, is also responsible for boosting cognitive intelligence. The natural synergy with the network needed for my innovation process and strategy is evident. On top of that, it makes me happy and fulfils my need for curiosity.
Enough about IQ… if you have read this blog until this point, and possibly the four blogs before, you have clearly used your reading faculty. Therefore you have augmented your IQ, being now closer to impressive innovation skills. J
Take care, my dear reader.
I wish you all a great week, be safe and let’s meet soon on the other side of this tunnel.