The skilled innovator continually observes these things:

  • The cares and concerns of people.

  • The practices people have for taking care of those concerns.

  • The value and level of satisfaction people place in their practices, current and future.

  • The breakdowns and struggles people are experiencing.

  • The disharmonies revealed by the breakdowns and struggles.

  • New practices that, if adopted, would resolve the breakdowns and bring harmony.

  • Resistance from people who see a net loss of value in the change.

What are the practices of observing for these patterns. In other words, what are the skills we  must develop.

Ken Wilber (1996) uses quad charts like the one below to integrate these different kinds of observers into a single framework.



Behavioral observer–other people

Social observer–groups

Observing and changing the world–paradigms and community adoption


With coaching, one can develop and hone these skills. An innovation center will benefit from providing training and coaching in these skills as well as the other conversational skills. The adopting community of an innovation goes through a similar learning cycle where the innovator is the coach. 

We live in our own history, our own physical/neural/muscular bodies, and our own beliefs. This is a kind of inevitable blindness. Much of the skill of innovators is being aware of this blindness trap. The way beyond this barrier is human diversity–seeing ourselves through the eyes of others with different histories, different bodies and different beliefs. The chief precondition is deep personal curiosity. The chief aid is a skilled coach.