The up-and-coming field of quantum computing, currently in a prototype phase, will probably be an innovation with exponential and wide-ranging impacts in the power and speed of information technology. There are some interesting parallels between the behavior of quantum computing particles, or qubits, and basic principles of Zen Buddhist philosophy. Like modern physics, this article employs a “space-time” concept of innovation, with implications for the process and intensity of new idea development within organizations.
The non-duality principle of Zen philosophy suggests a more intensive approach to the dimensions of innovation “space-time.” Business teams should stop following a simple sequential procedure in which new ideas are accepted or rejected almost as soon as they arise. Instead, they should take extra time and create a “learning space” or study environment for all of the new ideas in place of the typical reactive, judgmental, for-or-against decision-making process. Connections between these ideas may lead to further innovation opportunities.
When I say “innovator,” what image comes to mind? A brilliant, but misunderstood figure hunched over a drawing board by the light of a single lamp in the middle of the night – cup of coffee dwindling slowly, pages of crumpled notes on the floor?