Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drill, Baby, Drill

Wind power as an alternate to using oil. Just another hallmark of the creative thinking process that is turning a dry brown desert into a green environment.Here is another quick observation before I hit the road again.

While watching the RNC, I noticed that the phrase “Drill, Baby, Drill” had become the mantra of the convention and now it is the Republican Party’s slogan.

I also noticed that both candidates, McCain and Obama now support offshore drilling and talk about reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

They also mention alternative sources for energy like wind, solar and nuclear all in the same, rushed sentence.

I've always wondered, what would happen if they took the word "foreign" out of their rhetoric?

Instead, what if our candidates talked about reducing our dependency on... oil?

Even in politics, real change is dependent on the types of questions we ask our team members and ourselves because the questions we ask determine the answers that we find.

For instance, while driving down the south side of Joshua Tree National Park, along I-10 in California, I came across a windmill farm.

Only this wasn't the typical windmill farm with 20 to 30 windmills.

No, while our presidential candidates have only recently been talking about the need to explore wind as a source of energy, someone a while back had decided to take matters into their own hands and explore an opportunity.

They created what appears to be the largest windmill orchard in the world.

A small section of the windmill farm just outside Palm Springs in the Californian desert.
There are rows of these windmills, stretched as far as the eye can see, busily converting the high winds of the area into usable electricity.

Somehow, I don't think the team that created this energy orchard, sat around and said, "Hmm, I wonder how we can reduce our dependency on foreign oil?"

The team probably started off with a question like, "What if we could generate a substantial amount of electricity from the high winds that blow through this area?"

These types of question are classified as a possibility question and are useful for looking forward into creating possible futures.

But these guys didn't stop there.

After that, they probably asked, "How can we create a device for converting wind into electrical energy? What would such a device look like? In what way can we use the materials that we have to create a device powered by the wind and will supply 25% to 30% of our current electrical needs?"

These kinds of questions are process questions. They focus on processes and activities and are very useful for getting things done.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the team that created this windmill farm probably called Ed Eppley out to conduct one of his famous green-light brainstorming sessions before beginning that project.

A great scientist named Einstein once said, "The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them."

We currently face some of the biggest challenges of this century, not just as a nation, but in our corporations as well as on a personal level. We won't solve them using the same thinking strategies that got us to where we are today. In order to address the new challenges, we need to employ new thinking strategies, ask some different questions and do something totally different.

Because, again, to paraphrase Einstein, “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

It’s time for something new in your business and your life. Get started by asking some new and different questions.

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