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Awakening the Innovator Within: A Monk's Lesson of Mindful Innovation

5 simple steps to creating change in your organization tomorrow

By Matt Mueller

A Monk in Manhattan - Mindful Innovation

In the heart of bustling Manhattan, amid the cacophony of concrete and commerce, I found a spiritual guide in the most unexpected of places—a humble monk in an orange robe. His message was a profound revelation, one that stirred my soul and forever transformed my approach to innovation.

In the realm of innovation, we often find ourselves ensnared in the relentless pursuit of novelty and progress. We are bombarded with mantras like “innovate or die” and “fail fast, disrupt or be disrupted,” perpetually chasing the next technological marvel. Yet, within this ever-accelerating race, the essence of true innovation often eludes us. It is here that the monk’s wisdom resonates—a wisdom rooted in the ancient practice of mindfulness. I speak about my experience with this monk and the events thereafter, on the first episode of the innovate ON purpose podcast brought to you by The Mindful Innovator. Check it out below.

Purpose as the Guiding Star of Innovation

The monk’s teachings were not just about innovating for innovation’s sake; they were about innovating with purpose. It wasn’t about mindlessly following trends but about deeply understanding the problems we aim to solve. In the monk’s gift of a wooden mala bracelet, inscribed with the Sanskrit word “Ripka,” I discovered the key to unlocking the deeper layers of innovation—a purposeful journey.

The 5-Step Process for Innovating with Purpose

The monk’s message, steeped in centuries-old wisdom, reveals a 5-step process for innovating with purpose:


Breathe Deeply: The journey begins with a breath, a mindful inhalation that roots us in the present. Breathing deeply not only connects us with the moment but also sets our intention for the path ahead. Purpose starts with conscious breathing.

Identify Real Problems: Purposeful innovation necessitates a shift in perspective. Instead of chasing technology trends, we are encouraged to unearth the genuine problems that people face. By asking, “How can I solve a problem that truly matters?” innovation becomes a tool for meaningful change.

Create Change that Improves: The monk’s teachings stress that innovation is not about disruption for its own sake. It’s about creating change that genuinely improves lives. Purpose, in this context, becomes a guiding star. We must ensure that our innovations contribute positively to the world.

Ensure Acceptance: Perhaps the most challenging step is ensuring that our innovations are embraced. It requires collaboration, empathy, and a deep understanding of the human element. Purposeful innovation means not only solving problems but doing so in a way that resonates with people’s hearts and minds.

Visualize Success: The final step involves the power of visualization. To innovate with purpose, we must not only identify the problems and create solutions but also envision their positive impact on the world. Visualization amplifies the purpose and turns it into a driving force.

Our quest for innovation should not be driven solely by the fear of obsolescence but rather by the desire to make the world a better place.

Mindful Innovation: Beyond the Superficial Trends

The monk’s message is a beacon of light in the tumultuous sea of modern innovation. It urges us to transcend the noise and cultivate a deeper understanding of the challenges we seek to overcome. Instead of racing against competitors, we are prompted to focus on our unique path and purpose. In this way, we become mindful innovators, capable of weaving profound change into the fabric of our lives and businesses.

Embracing Purpose as the North Star

Our quest for innovation should not be driven solely by the fear of obsolescence but rather by the desire to make the world a better place. As we embrace the monk’s lessons, we realize that innovation is not about the technology, the disruption, or the constant pivoting. It is about being present, about breathing through the chaos, about identifying the genuine problems that people face, and about creating solutions that are embraced by the world.

In every moment, we have the power to breathe deeply, identify real problems, create change that improves lives, ensure acceptance, and visualize the positive impact of our innovations. Just as the monk gifted me unconfused knowledge, I offer you this wisdom—a path to mindful innovation that transcends the superficial trends of our times. As you ponder the monk’s teachings and their place in your life, remember that innovation is not just a concept; it’s a state of mind.

Embrace the wisdom of the monk, awaken the innovator within, and embark on a journey of innovation with purpose, guided by the light of unconfused knowledge. Your path to transformation begins now, illuminated by the purpose that beats in your heart. Innovate not for the sake of innovation but to enrich lives and fulfill your higher purpose.

Want to learn more about how to use this process and how you can grow your business? Set up a call with Matt for a Mindful Chat.

Innovator Matt Mueller

Matt Mueller

Thanks for reading! My goal is to provide an insightful, simplified, point of view on innovation, CX and insights to help you create positive change in everything you do. 

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