9 Essential Principles to Create, Innovate, and Sustain

How to work with yourself and others. The newest problems of the world find solutions in the oldest timeless practices like mindfulness, authenticity, and devotion.

BY FAISAL HOQUE | January 28, 2014

With the cascade of new technologies and social changes, we are constantly challenged to spark creativity, drive innovation, and ensure sustainability.

What are the remedies? How do we work with ourselves and others?

The newest problems of the world find solutions in the oldest timeless practices like mindfulness, authenticity, and devotion–because everything connects. Connectivity is a sense of journey, to the sense of purpose–it is an individual, lonely pursuit and a collective, companionable one at the same time.

Our individual, interpersonal, and organizational working lives all interconnect. By examining these connections, we learn new ways to create, innovate, adapt, and lead.

From our new book Everything Connects: How to Transform and Lead in the Age of Creativity, Innovation and Sustainability, let me dig a little deeper on how we can work with ourselves and others by connecting seemingly disparate dots.


1. Understanding is the foundation. The better we understand the nature of the world, the better we can move in the world. The better we understand the nature of ourselves, the better we can move within ourselves. This is why generations of thinkers and doers have told us in a multitude of ways to know ourselves–an intrapersonal intimacy that is the fruit of a long process.

2. Understanding leads to authenticity. When you know yourself, you can act with a confidence that is your own. This implies a rawness and vulnerability to the people around you, which is a very good thing, as that vulnerability is the foundation of the relationships that define us.

3. Devotion is mindfulness, mindfulness is devotion. You do not become strong by lifting one gigantic weight. You do not understand yourself by reading one book or attending one workshop. It is a daily practice of devotion. Devotion is our sustainable resource. With it we can day by day improve ourselves, our teams, and our world.


We need to explore understanding that leads to long-term sustainability, the way to act in a manner that promotes mutual flourishing, and how, crucially, a leader can urge us along this process.

1. Give people freedom. People need freedom to do their best work, people need to feel they’re able to bring all of their effort into the task, which requires an open, autonomy-oriented culture.

2. Give people structure. But this is not anarchy; with freedom comes responsibility. Responsibility can be ensured with both quantitative and qualitative methods and springs from a thriving culture.

3. Curate talent. When we assemble lasting organizations, we’re gathering people around a common cause. When the right people are gathered in the right way, the whole becomes greater–perhaps much greater–than the sum of its parts. Gathering the right people at the right time in their lives, in the right combination of talents, is curation.


We need to arrange our lives and our organizations in a way that leads to long-term value creation: surveying the subtle and not so subtle arts of idea generation, decision-making, and creating continuous value.

1. Ideas arise from curiosity. Experiences are the fuel of creativity. Curiosity is the thirst for new experiences. That passion can be systematized.

2. We make better decisions after mapping them. When we make a decision, we tend to leave our understanding unexamined, whether as individuals or as organizations. Mapping them out lets us have a more granular understanding of how we work.

3. To create value over the long term, build platforms.The most sustainable way to create value is to continually invest in our capabilities both as individuals and as organizations. The most core of these capabilities is the understanding we have of ourselves and others.

This isn’t just a quick fix for our next financial quarter; this is how we will succeed in the long run. It is a systemization of our art, science, business, and spirituality.

Excerpted with permission from Everything Connects: Cultivating Mindfulness, Creativity, and Innovation for Long-Term Value (Fast Company, Second Edition, 2022). Copyright (c) 2022 by Faisal Hoque. All rights reserved.

Original article @FastCompany.

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