Many innovations in the world relate to products and services. I would like to posit that we need to also attend to creating innovation in our human systems: our organizations (read libraries!), our society, our communities. What does this mean?
I believe we have the creative power to create human-centered systems that show positive belief in the abilities of people to get along, think together, work together, and live together. What it takes, I think, is getting out of our own way. As Darlene Fichter of the University of Saskatchewan has pointed out, we need radical trust — radical trust is trust in the community. (See: http://library.usask.ca/~fichter/blog_on_the_side/2006/04/web-2.html)
What all organizations, societies, and communities need is a measure of radical trust. Instead of judging each other so harshly might we not find ways to adopt a different viewpoint for a moment in order to understand one another? In my work as an organizational consultant I have seen what the lack of radical trust and the lack of innovation in the human system can do to a group of well-meaning and smart people. Typically the unfortunate results stem from emotional responses to a perceived threat — I say perceived because often that perception is only that and not a reality.
Essentially this is about overhauling our abilities of communication — to find new ways to break through our own blocks when it comes to how we communicate. How can we engender compassion and empathy in organizations and communities where disparate viewpoints often give rise to conflict?
I would like to hear from people who have tried to innovate the human systems at work or in their communities.