This weekend Karen and I were invited to participate in a wilderness adventure race: canoeing, archery, hiking, fire starting, hammering nails, sawing through logs, a puzzle, a poem, more canoeing, a run, swim and then finally a race up the hill to ring the bell. It was one of our son in-law’s 30th birthday party with their friends… Very fun.
There was one moment during the adventure race, the Fire Start, that struck me as extreme innovation. The Fire Start involved a container with paper, twigs and a small pile of firewood that we could split even further if desired. The goal was to build the blaze hot and tall enough to burn through twine that was strung 24 inches from the ground above each fire pit.
Three of the teams, including ours, built their fires as you would expect with paper, twigs, kindling and lots of blowing which eventually culminated in a nice hot high twine consuming victory. And then there were the unicorn innovators. As they came down from the preceding challenge, the mountain bluff hike, they talked among themselves and came up with a plan.
First, they would collect pine pitch, which burns hot and fast, during their hike/run down the bluff.|
Second, they would stand the tallest split firewood up vertically directly under the twine.
Third, they would light a twig/pitch combo on top of the standing firewood and… within seconds their twine would be burnt through…BRILLIANT!!
The great news is it worked, their innovation was a success. Too bad they didn’t win the grand prize, a cheese wheel.
Now let’s take this unicorn innovation and shift it from an entertaining story to a life application. We all have areas in our life that could really benefit from a fast hot fire that will quickly burn through resistance. Pick your personal favourite: personal health, a relationship, your career or finances.
How can we turn one of our circumstances on its head, stand up the problem and quickly burn a small hot fire right through it?
The answer is in their execution.
1. Communication. They talked together as a TEAM and came up with a plan. No talking, no innovation.
2. They thought outside the box, literally they went vertical, used a fraction of the resources but leveraged this one component to its highest value.
3. Finally, they added the secret sauce, a naturally occurring, right under our noses, rocket fuel pitch from the forest.
If you can integrate this story into one of your life challenges and can find your TEAM, your vertical repositioning and your secret sauce, I would love to hear all about it.