Tag Archives: possibility space

Two Kinds of Possible

Two Kinds of Possible

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

If I asked you whether something was possible, your answer would probably be based on your understanding of our current technologies and capabilities.

An electric car? Sure.

Finding a restaurant using your phone? No doubt.

Teleportation Star Trek style? No.

But that’s not how an innovator thinks about what’s possible. For them, it’s an entirely different question. The notion of what’s possible can have two quite different meanings. One that favors innovation and one that resists it.

If you asked someone living in the 19th century whether powered controlled flight was possible, or whether communicating through the air was possible, they would have said, No. And yet people like Marconi and the Wright Brothers set out to invent those technologies because they believed it was possible—if they could figure out how. So, there are these two very different ways of thinking about what’s possible.

  • The first answers the question: Can we go do that?
  • The second answers the question: Could we do that if we can figure out how?

Based on the first definition, teleportation is clearly impossible. But based on the second definition, it’s an open question. We don’t know, and we won’t know, until someone figures out how to do it. The fact that we haven’t figured that out yet, doesn’t mean we won’t or can’t.

We now know that for powered controlled flight, the answer to both questions is: Yes. It’s possible now; and it’s always been possible in the sense that the rules of the universe permit it.

No doubt many things are possible that we can’t yet do. That’s true of our technologies, and it’s true in your life. When you think like an innovator—with an Innovator Mindset—you believe all sorts of things are possible. And those beliefs are what prompt you to pursue all those amazing possibilities.

Here is a video version of this post:

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Crossing the Possibility Space

Crossing the Possibility Space

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Innovators are those who push themselves to move from what’s currently possible to what they hope will become possible—if they can make it happen. Doing that means crossing the space—that possibility space—between the two.

It’s the space Steve Jobs entered when he developed the iPhone, and where Elon Musk ventured when he launched SpaceX. It’s the space Florence Nightingale stepped into when she invented modern nursing and hospital cleanliness. The space Marie Curie crossed when she discovered radioactivity. And, that Muhammad Yunus was exploring when he created microloans to support third world entrepreneurs.

It’s a space roamed by countless inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, change agents, social reformers—and perhaps people like you. This possibility space can be treacherous. Failure is common. Many never make it across. But for those with the courage to try and the personal capabilities to navigate through it, it’s an exciting journey and the rewards are immense.
To innovate successfully, you must be willing to step into that space, and know how to make your way through it. That often requires innovation tools and strategies. But above all, it takes a certain mindset—an innovator mindset.

An innovator mindset is your ticket across this possibility space, and the compass you use to navigate your way through it. It’s a mindset that helps you decide what you need to pack for the trip and how to find your way past those inevitable obstacles. It’s believing in the value of imagination over knowledge, in the courage to take risks, in a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges ahead, and an openness to understanding the world in entirely new ways.

What possibility space would you like to cross? In your work and in your life? What are your dreams and aspirations? Are you ready to get started?

A video version of this post is included below:

Image Credit: Pixabay

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