Tag Archives for " innovation "

Innovation vs. Stagnation

poster with the word

A characteristic that is shared by many members of the Learn and Get Smarter community is that we are ahead-of-the-times, outside-the-box thinkers… what is referred to in the book Play Bigger as “category kings” (or what I also refer to as "category queens"). 

In other words, we are creative experts and entrepreneurs who have come up with whole new categories of products and services that are new to the market and have never been heard of before.

As an entrepreneur, this creates a marketing challenge as we need to not just encourage people to BUY what we’re selling, but to actually understand what it even IS.

The analogy is that in this way we are like Henry Ford, who famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, “Faster horses”.

If you have created a never-before-heard-of product, service, or method, 

how do you educate people about it

so that they can understand what you’re offering and how it will benefit them?

One way is through digital marketing. Right now I’m reading the book Launch by Jeff Walker … himself a “category king” in the digital product launch sphere. He explains the innovative method he developed that helps people successfully launch digital products in highly effective ways.

The opposite of innovation is stagnation.

You can tell the purpose of a system (whether a biological system like the human body, or an economic system like a business organization), by what it produces. 

The purpose of any system is to produce some kind of result.

But over time,  some systems end up overly focused on a result that benefits the system itself  at the expense of the larger whole it was originally meant to serve. 

Examples abound and include everything from bloated bureaucracies to cancer cells.

Businessman is looking at the big load of office work

In organizations and any other system, indeed, in any form, the system degrades over time to become less adaptable and less adapted to current conditions, until eventually, it becomes necessary to replace that form with a new one.

 This is where innovators like us come in.

We are the creators and designers of new forms into which consciousness can move when the old ones no longer serve.

The pandemic has accelerated the process of destruction of old forms and the creation of new ones.

The pandemic is terrible for everyone in terms of basic enjoyment of life, and catastrophic for many in terms of everything from physical survival to economic well being. 

That’s why we are having weekly community  meetings: to support each other in focusing on ways to survive and thrive despite these unprecedented conditions.

 So given that we are a group of ahead-of-the-curve, category king and queen, innovators, what can we learn by applying systems thinking to the pandemic?

Adaptability to prevailing conditions is always the key to surviving and thriving,

 and one definition I use for learning is that it is

 the ability to adapt to conditions in ways that promote survival.

One question we can ask ourselves, as educators and entrepreneurs, is: what can we do now to help those we are here to serve, adapt and thrive under these new conditions?

How do the products and services we are creating help others live better lives, given the conditions we are all dealing with?

Reflecting on this question leads us to two related topics for discussion at next week's community meeting, in the Facebook group, and for self-reflection within our own minds:

1) Who are you here to serve, how is the pandemic affecting them, and how can you help them adapt, survive, and thrive?

2) Once you are clear on the answers to those questions, how can you get the word out to your community so they can benefit from what you offer?

Come talk about it at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, September 5th, or  in the Facebook group!

Come to the community meeting

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call

Dealing with resistance

large yellow arrow facing right, opposed by many smaller white arrows facing left

In last week's blog post, I wrote about the point that occurs about module 3 and 4 of many online courses, where the learner needs to start to actually apply the new material being taught.

At that point in the course, far too often, learners find actually applying the teaching too difficult, and just drop off.

They stop paying attention, stop doing the work, and vanish into cyberspace. 

How can you keep that from happening in YOUR online course?

You can't, totally, prevent that, because adult learners who are not facing requirements set by a job or academic program are free to do as they want.

But you can expect, and prepare for, learner resistance to  moving forward into the deeper layers of your course, and build as many touch points as possible into the course design itself, to counteract that resistance.

illustration showing a pencil with a fist growing out of the top of it, and lightning flashes coming out of the sides. The words "Strong Design" appear under the pencil/fist."

The most important thing to consider in supporting your course participants to power through the natural resistance we all feel to really learning anything new, is to 

build GUIDED PRACTICE into the design of every lesson.

It's far too easy to inadvertently skip this step... to go right from presenting the information you're teaching, to expecting learners to be able to do it for themselves. 

But before they can do it for themselves, they need you to not only TELL them what to do, 

but also


People untangling a ball of yarn together

How do you build guided practice into an online lesson? This is such a complex and important topic that I'll devote a whole blog post to it at a later time. Meanwhile, you can read about how to provide guided practice in my book (it's on pages 189-192).

The point I want to focus on now is that providing guided practice every step of the way helps overcome the resistance to moving forward into the deeper layers of learning, that is a natural part of learning anything new.

 It's harder to provide guided practice online than in person, but it's not impossible. The important thing is to remember to do it, every step of the way.

How else can you help your course participants power on past the "dip" that occurs around module 3 or 4 of an online course?

  • Increase social presence

  • increase engagement

  • increase motivation

Increase social presence

The more your learners can feel that you are THERE WITH THEM, helping them overcome learning challenges, the more supported they will feel in sticking it out through the hard parts.

Whether this means including live coaching, responding to learner emails, or building "evergreen" factors into the course that make learners feel you are there with them, it's important to think about how you will accomplish this.

Young man teaching eldery man of usage of computer. Intergeneration

At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on August 22nd, 2020, we talked about another type of resistance some of us have encountered as well: resistance to innovative ideas that we may want to share with colleagues and peers.

While there is plenty of lip service being paid about how innovation and disruption are good things, in actual practice, people don't always appreciate innovations that disrupt their lives.  

If you, like many in the Learn and Get Smarter community, are a highly creative thought leader and change agent, how do you deal with resistance as you bring new ideas, new products, and new services into the world?

Part of the work of being a change agent, is being aware of and accounting for the resistance to change. It would be wonderful if everyone appreciated the changes we are working so hard to bring into the world, rushed to buy our products and services, and supported what we are doing in every way.

But the nature of change is that it is hard, and is often not welcomed or appreciated at first. And if we are the ones bringing the change, some of that resistance is going to be directed at us.

All truth passes through three stages. 

First, it is ridiculed.

Second, it is violently opposed.

Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

--Arthur Schopenhauer

If this resonates with you, remember to believe in yourself and what you are here to do. Your mission, vision, and service are important. You have something to offer that will help people grow and will make the world a better place.

 Growth and change are hard, and we all tend to resist them, even when we WANT to grow and change.

 I've written a  blog post about the role of resistance in the implementation of effective change, on my "Ask Mother Rebecca" blog. If you'd like to delve deeper into the role of resistance in growth and change, you may find this interesting. 


I was lucky enough to learn a fascinating principle from Dave Lakhaniat a business mastermind I attended recently.

He said that in order for your ideas to have the impact necessary for your  business to be effective, you must be POLARIZING. 

Meaning that while some people are  going to love and appreciate what you are offering, others will not.

You can't please everyone, and must specifically attract those you are meant to serve while causing those who are not a fit for your message, to be pushed away.

If, like me, you  want to be able to serve everyone and be all things to all people, this message can be hard to hear.

But it's important to pay attention to it.

It fits with the business guidance we receive to remember to "niche down"... get focused and specific on the EXACT target audience you want to attract, and focus on meeting their needs with your products and services.

Bringing the focus back to designing our online courses in ways that help learners overcome the challenges and obstacles that arise whenever one sets out to learn anything new, we can be reminded that while not everyone is going to choose to persist past those obstacles, some will.

We need to be here and show up for those of our course participants, clients, and customers who ARE willing to do the hard work of overcoming resistance so they can learn and grow. Those are the people we are here to serve, and it's an honor and a pleasure to do so.

How are YOU overcoming resistance to change in yourself and others, as you set up your business and create your course(s)? 

Come talk about it at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, August 29th, or  in the Facebook group!

Come to the community meeting


9 AM Pacific/ 12 Noon Eastern

many people online in a conference call