Collaborative Innovation: What Turns It Off And What Turns It On

Collaborative Innovation: What Turns It Off And What Turns It On

What Turns It On

Conscious Awareness, Focus of Attention and Orientation

A fundamental element of our conscious awareness is the quality and focus of our attention. To answer the question above, I propose a model incorporating the quality of our focus of attention. Where we direct our attention determines what we notice, what we are drawn towards and what might be attracted towards us, collectively creating our conscious perception of reality (Posner & Rothbart, 1998). Our focus of attention is oriented by our mental state, which is a combination of internal and internalised attitudes, emotions, and our state of affective order and/or disorder (Oosterwijk, et al., 2012).

So, our orientation directly affects our perception of reality. In colloquial terms, the way you perceive the world affects the way you act in the world you perceive, and this is affected by your emotional disposition and/or your mental attitude at the time. When someone is oriented by a positive state such as happiness, or love, or contentment there will be a different focus of attention, and subsequent behavior and thinking, than someone oriented by a negative state like anxiety, depression or anger.

The pressures of external expectation and evaluation, which are described above as the “winner/loser” mental state, will orient the individual toward a chronically stressed and traumatised mental state that triggers behaviors including dissociation, defensiveness/aggression, fault and blame shifting, distrust and social isolation – all qualities of mind that are not conducive for collaboration or creativity or innovation. In recent years there has been strong support for mindfulness practices as an orientation that might resolve the “winner/loser world” problem. This has certainly helped to create an orientation of calm and shifted thoughts toward a more accepting and non judgmental frame.Mindfulness has been shown to produce a positive shift in the psychobiological state in workplaces (Good, et al., 2016), schools (Semple, Droutman & Reid, 2017) and for individuals (Keng, Smoski & Robins, 2017) and relationships (Karremans, Shellekens & Kappen, 2017). The extensive research is helpful to confirm the underlying principle of the model, that orientation alters behavior and mental activity, but it is not necessarily conducive to collaboration for the purpose of co-operative creativity and innovation.


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About the Author

Richard HillRichard Hill, MA, MEd, MBMSc, is a practicing psychotherapist/counsellor, author, educator, and professional supervisor. He is acknowledged internationally as an expert in human dynamics, communications, the brain and the mind. He speaks on the topicss of neuroscience, psychosocial genomics, and the impact of curiosity on brain, behavior and well being. His recent book is with Ernest Rossi, PhD, The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands, which describes a Client-Responsive Approach to therapy. He is Past-President of the Global Association of Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies (GAINS); Patron of the Australian Society of Clinical Hypnotherapists; and Managing Editor of The Science of Psychotherapy monthly magazine. He holds Masters degrees in Arts; Education; and Mind and Brain Sciences. His other books include, Choose Hope and How the ‘real world’ Is Driving Us Crazy!

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