Our basic brain–wiring inhibits us from reacting the way we should to spark innovation. For most of us, there is a need to re–wire our fear vs. curiosity neural circuitry. Fortunately we can.

Let’s look at some of the “wiring” behind your eyes so you can understand the natural human reactions that typically crush the new ideas that lead to innovation. The more you understand it, the less you’ll feel guilty about being such a creativity crusher, and the more you’ll be able to choose a different reaction to “wacky,” “out there,” “weird” new ideas. Let’s face it, by definition, “innovative concepts” are new, unusual, and have never been seen before. That makes them strange. And scary.

The human being is masterful at noticing things that are out of the norm. This is good, and throughout the history of humans, it has kept us alive. When we see something odd, the orbitalfrontal cortex (behind our eyes) is stimulated, which sends a direct message to the fear centers of our brain in the amygdala. That’s the dominant neural pattern. However, that dominance can be overcome.

The innovation leader needs to re–wire it in both themselves and those that they choose to lead. We need to find (and repeatedly energize) a neural pattern that leads to delight in oddness rather than fear. The question is, “How do we do that?”

We’re learning in our own work to re–wire our brains to be curious — to be interested in newness. We find that the more we are exposed to novel ideas, many of which are clearly “wacko” — er…outside of the pattern that our brain sees as normal, the more delighted we are when we find another. And that delight leads to neural re–patterning. As a habit, we advise that when the brain sends up a red flag about a “stupid idea,” that’s when we should re–examine it to find out what we love about it. After a while, the practice becomes a habit.

Here is the invitation: Start looking for novel stuff. Surf on over to www.trendhunter.com. Pick up a copy of Popular Mechanics or Popular Science. Join the World Future Society so you can be tickled by their newsletter and the magazine The Futurist. Tweak your think! Improve your ability to delight in new ideas that — at first — seem out there!

And then share what you find delightful. Send us an e-mail. Blog about it to your people. We may even start sharing more of that kind of thing here, and you can help. Credit will be given, and it may even be an opportunity to promote those “strange” new ideas into which you just invested your retirement savings.

Oh, and here’s an idea: A new game show on television: “Is it Real? Or is it Bogus?” Want to get in on the ground floor? Checks can be made out to “New & Improved!”

Imagine this: you get an e–mail from a friend inviting you to invest early in their new business venture. Sure, there’s risk, you’re told; but the pay–off could be big! The idea? Selling a device that uses the heat from automotive tailpipe exhaust to grill hamburgers. Ready to invest your savings? No? Oh. Well how about investing in a car rental company that rents exclusively to convicted drunk drivers?

If you had received such an invite — and said “no, thanks!” — you would be kicking yourself today. Both of these are real, and one of the two is already making big profits.

Tail Pipe Cooker?

The exhaust never touches your food, but the heat from your car engine grills your food. It’s too new to know how successful it is, (so far as we can find out) but it’s out there. Innovation–squelchers would say too far out there. Find out more here.

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Renting Cars to Drunk Drivers? 

Enzo Stretti is doing it in Europe. Starting with a change in the law in Switzerland that allowed some people with suspended licenses to drive vehicles that cannot exceed 45kph (28mph), he started renting speed–governed small cars to help people be productive while keeping the streets safe. You can see more about his company here.

Imagine this: you get an e–mail from a friend inviting you to invest early in their new business venture. Sure, there’s risk, you’re told; but the pay–off could be big! The idea? Selling a device that uses the heat from automotive tailpipe exhaust to grill hamburgers. Ready to invest your savings? No? Oh. Well how about investing in a car rental company that rents exclusively to convicted drunk drivers?

If you had received such an invite — and said “no, thanks!” — you would be kicking yourself today. Both of these are real, and one of the two is already making big profits.

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