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You can never change things by fighting the existing reality, to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Buckminster Fuller

Innovate Or Die is an original oil painting exploring a path of an innovator — taking their creation from an idea through the implementation. Even though I was thrilled with it, I wasn’t satisfied that the story of innovation was complete. That led me to put the original on the art continuum and create digital extensions covering the lifecycle of innovation and later to create a video showing innovation in motion showing the interaction between elements of innovation. Collectively, these art pieces became Innovate Or Die Art Group.

Daeu introduces you to her Innovate Or Die Art Group talks about her exploration of innovation on the I Paint Ideas Podcast. Listen here in full or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Inspiration Behind Innovate Or Die

Innovate Or Die oil painting was inspired by my interview with a dear friend Juliet Murphy. Juliet is a leading career coach, and she works with corporate clients and advises millennials and Gen Zs. We talked about leadership, and more specifically, how the older generations sometimes do not appreciate the ideas from younger people, because they’re younger, and they don’t know as much. And at some point in the conversation, Juliet said, “Well, you just have to innovate or you die”.

That sentence sparked a kernel of inspiration in me that became a wonderful artistic exploration into innovation and the process of innovating.  The original oil painting, Innovate Or Die, deals with the path of an innovator taking something from an abstract idea to reality.

Daeu Angert. Innovate Or Die. I Paint Ideas™ Collection. 2021. Oil on canvas. 48″ x 30″.

Innovate Or Die (Oil Painting)

The composition of this painting resembles a bridge. And that’s because I wanted to identify the journey from an idea to an actual innovation and take it from what was to what will be, connecting a problem to a solution. The tone moves from white to black vertically across many shades of grey, lighter on top darker on the bottom, just like you have some excellent ideas, some bad ideas, or some good days and some bad days. But also it looks like the sky and the ocean and the bridge. This is probably the closest I would ever get to painting a landscape.

To me, and at the very basic level of understanding, innovation is about implementing an idea. It’s an implementation of an idea. So on that journey, there are many ideas. Some are good, some are bad, some you can implement, some you can’t. If you follow the orange lines on the painting (which doubles up as the sides of the bridge), you can see the rise of an idea, the fall of an idea, and some ideas falling into the abyss of missed opportunities. You can see a poor little innovator with big glasses stuck on a plateau looking for the next breakthrough. You can see the clashes of ideas, incremental changes, and disruptive changes. And somehow, you get to the other side. Not always straightforward, but it gets done nevertheless.

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Innovate Or Die on Art Continuum

In order to expand the story of innovation, I moved Innovate Or Die oil across several dimensions on the continuum: from analog to digital, and from static to dynamic.

Daeu Angert. Swept By An Idea. Innovate or Die Art Group. I Paint Ideas™ Collection. 2021. Digital art on a continuum.
Daeu Angert. Idea From Above. Innovate or Die Art Group. I Paint Ideas™ Collection. 2021. Digital art on a continuum.
Daeu Angert. Innovation In Motion. Innovate or Die Art Group. I Paint Ideas™ Collection. 2021. Digital art on a continuum.
Daeu Angert. When Idea Dies. Innovate or Die Art Group. I Paint Ideas™ Collection. 2021. Digital art on a continuum.

Elements of Innovation

Here are some of the elements of innovation that I wrote down and thought about when I was making my painting:

  • innovation itself, the implementation of an idea
  • status quo that needs to be disrupted
  • disruptive innovation that changes everything
  • incremental innovation that fades away over time
  • innovation decay that eventually makes innovation obsolete
  • success and failure of innovation or an idea
  • the actors: innovators, consumers
  • the changing environment that brings in new information and shapes new ideas
  • the perception of new information by the innovator in a passive way
  • the perspective of the new innovator actively influencing how the innovation will impact the world
  • the adaptation of the perspective by the perception
  • the risks and obstacles getting in the way of the new innovations’ implementation

Here’s the video interpretation of these elements interacting when the process of innovation is working:

Daeu Angert. Innovation In Motion (Video). Innovate or Die Art Group. I Paint Ideas™ Collection. 2021. Digital art on a continuum.

Thank you, Juliet, for inspiration, for you wonderful work you are putting out into the world and of course for our friendship. I appreciate you!

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