Passion and true passion is actually very unpredictable. It heads in unexpected directions because it's constantly seeking out new challenges. But what's really interesting is that passion ultimately is necessary for sustained extreme performance improvement.
At one level, SXSW exemplifies serendipity, because whenever I come, I get these unexpected meetings with people I never knew existed, and you couldn't have planned it. But by making the choice to come to SXSW, I'm increasing the probability of those encounters.
Rather than constantly questioning and challenging our beliefs and being willing to think differently about the opportunities that are out there, we withdraw into what we've done before. And in a world that's rapidly changing, that's a formula for vulnerability.
Executives will talk about the importance of passion, but what they really mean is finding somebody who will work nights and weekends on their assigned task but predictably and reliably follow orders and just work harder.
For most western executives, innovation is about breakthrough technology or innovation. If it's not breakthrough, it's not interesting, and it's all about technology and products.
There's an interesting trend that occurs in times of mounting pressure and high uncertainty, which is that it's a natural human tendency to seek out people that agree with us, that are similar to us because it's a source of comfort in a world that's so rapidly changing.
At an individual level just as much as a corporate level, this notion of if you're not really passionate about the work you're doing in a world of mounting pressure, you're going to experience more and more stress. You're going to burn out. You're going to become marginalized.
In essence, what Innocentive does is it provides a platform where you can post a really challenging problem and offer a reward to anybody who can come and provide a solution. And it's been remarkably effective. People get very challenging problems and get solutions to those problems.
The challenge with SXSW and events like it is it's so big and overwhelming, it's easy to get lost in the crowd.
Business needs to move to adopt much more scalable pull platforms. When we talk about pull platforms, often people focus on one level of pull, which is what we call access. It's simply, if I have a need, I can make a request, get the resource or the information I need when needed.
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