The rise of zennovation

What Zen Taught Silicon Valley (And Steve Jobs) About Innovation

Was the revolutionary circular scroll wheel on the Apple iPod inspired by kinhin, the Zen practice of walking in circles while meditating? There’s no hard evidence, but a new book, The Zen of Steve Jobs, suggests a connection. The illustrated and partly fictionalized book, which focuses on the real-life relationship between the late Apple co-founder and a Zen Buddhist priest, juxtaposes the lessons Jobs learned from his Zen master with design breakthroughs in his products. In so doing, the book picks up and expands on a theme also discussed in Walter Isaacson’s recent biography of Jobs: that the great innovator was, himself, greatly influenced by Zen principles and practices.

Which raises a question that may seem crude, aggressively Western, and not at all Zen: Can the rest of us boost our innovation mojo by applying some of these centuries-old principles to modern-day challenges?

This article was originally published by me on FastCoDesign.com. Please click here to read the rest of it.

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About the Author

Innovation expert and questionologist Warren Berger has studied hundreds of the world’s foremost innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. He is the author or co-author of eight books, including THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead, the bestseller A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, and the internationally acclaimed GLIMMER, named one of Businessweek’s Best Innovation and Design Books of the Year. His writing appears regularly in Psychology Today, Fast CompanyHarvard Business Review, and The New York Times. He lives in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts.

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