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Innovation is the ability to perceive alternative realities and the courage to move toward those visions. Among all the important practical questions we have about our future, we’re now also faced with re-defining reality. Like Yogi Berra once said, “It’s like Deja Vu’ all over again.”

Weird times, right? People are craving to understand what’s “real” amidst our current political, technological and cultural climate. How should we define reality? Which version of the truth should we embrace? We’re faced with blurry views on which information and interpretations of events are real, and which are alternatively real. The stakes are high. We’re in the midst of massive transformation. Innovation is a core tool that can help us get to more coherent place.

Innovation is the ability to perceive alternative realities and the courage to move toward those visions.

So, what is reality? Some context might help.

Understanding reality is an existential question that’s been pondered since Plato, who believed that absolute truth that existed in reality. But he wasn’t sure if people would ever be able to perceive this truth.

Back in 1666, Margaret Cavendish (the Duchess of Newcastle) illuminated alternative reality in her book Blazing World, in which she depicted an alternative universe that shared all the problems that existed in her “real” world. However, these problems were solved with more imaginative ideas, using new rules and innovation methods. Then, Ms. Cavendish imagined the solutions would be towed back to her world in submarines (which had not yet been conceived by Da Vinci), towed by fish men. So, she had that going for her, which is nice.

Reality has been explored in advertising, too. In one of the greatest advertising campaigns of all time, Rolling Stone magazine created a campaign that juxtaposed “perception vs. reality” to extoll the belief that the magazine was moving more mainstream than the hippie/rocker aura would suggest. The brilliant campaign, written by Minneapolis advertising legend Nancy Rice was prolific, curious and appropriately weird for the times. It challenged our beliefs about perception, in tune with the psychedelic days of the 60’s.

Let’s face it. We’re entering weird and surrealistic times with the transition into America’s new governance and all the cultural shifts that are emerging.

We’re swimming in uncharted waters. There’s a tonality of 1960’s “questioning authority” to the Zeitgeist. We’re props in a Dali painting, melting into new physical and metaphysical entities. Reality is being warped. Orwellian prophecies of “alternative facts” and revisionist history are becoming presidential communication policies. Yikes! We’re living a comical Bizarro world where reality is inverted and the earth is square, not round.

Add that to technological advancements that enable us to access new, digital paradigms of reality. We augment reality by shifting time and place with digital trickery. We can experience virtual reality that moves us to completely new worlds of fantasy, changing our moods and re-wiring our neural pathways.

We can communicate with holograms, digital manifestations of real people, alive or dead. In fact, there are now crowd-sized protests happening holographically in places, such as Madrid, Spain, that ban physical protests agains government buildings. The 'NoSomosDelito' ('We are not crime') movement asked sympathizers to join the demonstration by sending videos of themselves via a webcam, which we’re transformed into life-like holograms and projected in mass upon government buildings. First there is a protest, then there is no protest, then there is.

If you prefer the astrological explanation, we’re entering Aquarius, a reminder that we’re possibly in the larger age of Aquarius which has alternative meanings depending on how you interpret the signs.

One interpretation is that Aquarius is a time for humanity to take control the earth along with the expansion of mindfulness, love, peace and greater consciousness of our interconnected energy.

The alternative view is that Aquarius brings a world ruled by secretive, power hungry elites who seek absolute power, abusing science, focusing on winning wars, offending religion.

Which reality is real? Which facts are actual facts and not alternative facts?

All of these confusing conditions and narratives may be leading people to crave answers to the question “what is reality”? Our new president’s pre-occupation with obfuscating reality befuddles logic and, ironically, is an obstacle to any substantial or valuable policy changes that are even conceivable. This obfuscation is not an accident, it’s a strategy. Then again, maybe it’s just a psychological disorder being manifest in real life.

Net, we’re entering into an era where people are seeking better ways to create a brighter and more mindful future, to perceive alternatives to reality. We need to differentiate tweet from truth, information from knowledge, knowledge from wisdom and wisdom from insight.

Innovation also requires skills in pattern recognition - the ability to see common themes from a variety of sources, to verify and filter, to appreciate the interconnectedness of the energy among us.

We need more empathy, trust and love, tons of it. We need to devote the energy to better understand and non-judgmentally appreciate the motives and history within people who are conveying what they believe to be their reality. It’s their reality but it might not be “real” reality.

Finally, we need to be mindful of the moment, appreciate the fluidity of our circumstances and be optimistic about the role we each play in changing what we see as reality - especially if it’s regarded as frustrating or just off-kilter.

Its time to be mindful of the power of collective consciousness in changing the common energy forces that shape our reality. We’re all connected even though many people disagree. We’ll feel the outcomes of the massive shift that’s upon us.

Quantum physics would suggest that our involvement in observing reality makes a difference in the outcome. For example, The Copenhagen Interpretation of the Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty indicates that the very act of observing matter changes its composition.

Its time to observe and be present, not to hide. Its time to open up our minds to new possibilities, activate our imagination, and convert information to wisdom.

With the right energy, we have the potential to generate an alternative reality that benefits us all, that unifies us all and navigates the collective us to a more compassionate world. That also requires courage, the fortitude to evolve undaunted, to share wisdom with others, to unify and resist the influence of unreal facts.

Innovation is the ability to perceive alternative reality and the courage to move toward those visions. Let’s make this next version of realty absolutely amazing and collectively beneficial.

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