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Innovation - we got this!

Just read a great article written by Iain Montgomery that caused me to pause and reflect on the use of the term 'innovation' in my company name. Seems that innovation tends to be used in business to address technology, but there are significant innovations available to us in all areas - economics, the environment, and social.

Two concepts immediately jumped out at me - curiosity and comfort with ambiguity. Ask those that have worked with me in the past. All too often, I'm the guy in the room that says "what if", or jumps up to the whiteboard and scribbles out a few (seemingly unrelated) concepts and seeks to find the connection. Every contract we undertake is unique and we have no cookie cutter approaches. We allow for emergence and that often leaves us wondering where new insights and perspectives will lead us, but always confident in our ability to make sense of the ambiguity.

We are a small company, by design. We believe our clients have innovative and creative ideas and solutions - at very least they have interesting and challenging questions that, when appropriately facilitated, can lead to innovative breakthroughs. We don't want to own their success. We want to know that we had a role in supporting their discovery and connecting ideas that move the boundaries of possibility. It’s a reflection of our multidisciplinary approach.

Learning from different disciplines opens the door to new approaches. Often, we forget that something working in the tech field (for example) might have application in the social realm or that the problem itself might be the solution. The article makes reference to the use of ‘best practices’ and admittedly, I’m a recovering ‘best/promising practices’ junkie. While I’ve always understood that solutions in one situation may not be directly translated to a different environment, the success demonstrated in one place holds promise when the component parts are unpacked and understood. In that way, best practices offer ideas - like a menu.

I’ve always believed, and chose the name bassa because of my belief in process. See, bassa is a Latin term borrowed from the world of music - it means to play or sing and octave below what’s written. I like the concept of going deep; of getting below the surface. As a government employee, I became frustrated by consultants that would simply show up and document what we already knew. I might not be a documented

expert in the particular fields of my clients but I have world experience that allows me to relate and perform as a partner in discovery. My company approach is also consistent with the music world - I use an ensemble approach and bring in the talent required for the job. Might not use a trombone player to put on a heavy metal gig (despite the notion that it might have innovative possibilities!).

Process is key. Hard on ideas, relentless in the exploration of options, and respectful of the people involved. My clients might experience some discomfort as they contemplate change, but they will always feel supported and confident on the journey.

The world is changing - rapidly. We need to embrace innovation if we have any hope of addressing the sense of fear emerging globally.

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