23 March 2011

Learning Innovation from Confucius Part 5 - Method M2 Solve Contradiction

Continuing from Learning Innovation from Confucius - Part 4 Method M1 Observe & Discern,

Confucius tells us to discern the contradiction and solve them to differentiate ourselves. 

Contradiction is term from TRIZ practitioner. In the original Analects (Lun Yu), the term uses is confusion or perplexity. But the meaning is the same as we shall see. The verse is Analects

12:10.  子張問‘崇德、辨惑’ 
Zhi Zheng asked, "How to exalt virtue and discern perplexity."

子曰: ‘主忠信、徒義崇德也。
Putting faithfulness and integrity first,  and going after rightouesness are exalting virtues. 

愛之欲其生、惡之欲其死、 既欲其生又欲其死、是惑也’
Love wants one to live. Hate wants one to die. Wanting one to live and die at the same time is perplexity.
Doing these (virtuous deeds and solving perplexity) may not truly bring your wealth, but will surely differentiate you.

(some scholars think the last phrase about wealth is a misplace. The ancient book was made of bamboo sticks tied together. So they thought that some of the sticks may have came off and were joined back wrongly. I think it was correctly placed. Confucius always placed virtue before wealth. In other places, e.g. Book of the Mean, he taught that government should go after righteousness first and wealth will come. Even so, we don't do righteousness to get wealth. Doing that actually put wealth as the objective and righteousness as the means. We should always put righteousness first irrespective of wealth. There is this universal principle that once you have righteousness, wealth, in many forms including money, will follow after eventually.)
1 Find out the Contradiction / Compromise / Dilemma  /Dichotomy
Back to the Innovation Method. We are to discover the perplexity or contradiction in the area of interest. Contradiction comes in the form of you cannot have both at the same time. Every time you encounter a situation where you are force to compromise, you are in a contradiction.

How can you want a person to live and to die at the same time?
Chinese has a powerful phrase to describe such a dilemma - 矛盾 Arrow and Shield. If the arrow sharper to pierce through the shield or the shield stronger than the arrow to stop it?

2. Solve the Contradiction - Break the Compromise
A typical example used in TRIZ class is an airplane frame. The material for the frame needs to be strong and at the same time light. But conventional wisdom tells us that to be strong, it need to be bigger and hence heavier. How can we have both? The TRIZ method tell us how with the Contradiction Matrix and 40 principles to tell us how to solve it. The essentials and additional are in my BVITS innovative method.

3. Outcome Evaluation - Righteous Richness
How can we evaluate the outcome of any innovation? Confucius tells us to follow after high moral virtue - righteousness. The triple bottom lines of economic, social and environmental well beings are being promoted now. For capitalism to survive, they need to increase conscience capital.

Innovation is about breaking the compromise and the contradiction. It is a win-win. Win-lose, lose-win, lose-lose are all not sustainable in the long term. Innovators are contradiction breakers. If you are unable to have a win-win or win for all, your idea or solution is not good enough. Go and think more. Revise, persuade, communicate the goals, methods, timing etc as in the 5W1H see The Basic Thinking Framework 5W1H.

Next Learning Innovation from Confucius Part 6 – Method M3 Bipolar & M4 Multi-Uses

Lim Liat copyrighted March 2011

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