The Men Who Stare at Goats – and Innovate

The Men Who Stare at Goats - and InnovateWhat makes you stop and stare?

What inspires you?

I’ve written many times about the role of inspiration in innovation, and there are lots of sources of both inspiration and innovation. For me, inspiration is so important to innovation that I put inspiration at the center of my Eight I’s of Infinite Innovation framework (traducido al español por Vanessa Lopez-De la O). While inspiration is of course important, there are seven other I’s in the Eight I’s framework that help to transform inspiration into income. I came across a video, on Yahoo! Sports of all places, that inspired me. It shows goats engaging in a very unusual behavior with a metal ribbon.

Here’s the video:

The video of the goats’ behavior made me not just stare, but also made me think about several things, including:

  1. What a fun way to play king of the mountain
  2. This is a great demonstration of the importance of flexibility, balance, and perseverance
  3. All athletes need off-season training, maybe this is off-season training for goats
  4. Just about anything will make me laugh (5 million views can’t be wrong)
  5. How long before someone tries to turn a metal ribbon into the next Zumba like craze?
  6. How long will it be before Cirque du Soleil creates a metal ribbon act?

What else can we learn from this video?

Well, in my previous post Secret to Innovation Success Revealed! I shared that I see successful innovation as being composed of:

  • Invention
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Collaboration

Some might disagree with me, but I believe animals can be inventive, and we can see in the video the goats collaborating. But are the goats being entrepreneurial here?

Are humans the only animals that innovate?

What can we learn from the behavior, physics, or architecture of other animals that might inspire us to achieve success with our current innovation challenge?

Keep innovating!

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, embeds innovation across the organization with innovation training, and builds B2B content marketing strategies that drive increased revenue, visibility and inbound sales leads. He has recently begun distributing Innovation eLearning and is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. He tweets from @innovate.

Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.




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  1. Michael Graber on February 26, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Great piece. We find real innovation a form of shamanic work, seriously. Everyday we advise clients to take risks, leap into unknown and unexplored areas, express themselves in new ways – all to locate, validate and capitalize on new areas of growth.

    We have formal methods and processes for unlocking potential and manifesting new realities for them. We always tell them to be true to themselves, their organizations and be a positive force on the planet. We embolden and encourage. We connect them to the real lives that use their creations.

    For these reasons, we would like to state that real innovation work is a form of Corporate Shamanism.

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