The spark that created the Internal Innovation blog was something Scott Berkun wrote on his blog, which was in itself based on a speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize:

Modern man has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere. This is a dazzling picture of modern man’s scientific and technological progress.

Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.

Every man lives in two realms, the internal and the external. The internal is that realm of spiritual ends expressed in art, literature, morals, and religion. The external is that complex of devices, techniques, mechanisms, and instrumentalities by means of which we live. Our problem today is that we have allowed the internal to become lost in the external. We have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live. So much of modern life can be summarized in that arresting dictum of the poet Thoreau: “Improved means to an unimproved end.” This is the serious predicament, the deep and haunting problem confronting modern man. If we are to survive today, our moral and spiritual “lag” must be eliminated. Enlarged material powers spell enlarged peril if there is not proportionate growth of the soul. When the “without” of man’s nature subjugates the “within,” dark storm clouds begin to form in the world.

If we believe this, then why is so little of what we talk about when we use the word innovation directed at helping people make, in MLKs terms, internal progress?

Innovation can be focused outwardly or inwardly, whether you define it as introducing something new, a new idea or method, exploiting a new idea successfully, or just making small improvements where possible to everyday situations. The purpose of the Internal Innovation blog is to explore how to take the methodologies and efforts others are using to create wonders externally, and learn how to wield them so they may be focused internally to our selves. My hope is that through the work of this blog, readers might discover the ends they wish their lives to lead to, and thus alter their actions so they may discover the means by which to get there.

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