Innovation is critical to business success yet does not come about by telling employees, "Be innovative!" or by asking employees, "What's the new thing? The new product? The new discovery?" Instead innovation is facilitated by creating an environment that allows employees to imagine, to wrestle, to explore and to iterate.
In recent years I have worked deeply on quiet conflict management interventions from Afghanistan to Iran, but mostly in Syria. I have watched the unnecessary suffering of countless people, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, the greatest civilian displacement in Middle Eastern history, and I have watched it up close through the lives of my students and friends.
This moment demands a fresh interrogation of what theologian Reinhold Neibuhr euphemistically called "the highly contingent achievements of the west," and closer attention to the varied histories of the non-west. Instead, the most common response to the present crisis has been despair over western "weakness" -- and much acrimony over what Barack Obama, president of the "sole superpower" and the "indispensable nation" should have done to fix it.