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The Unreasonable Quest for World-Changing Innovation

In a world where convention rules, it's the unreasonable ones who shape the future. It is why all progress depends on the audacity to defy the norm. Step outside your comfort zone and challenge the status quo. Embrace your inner unreasonable and make a difference!

Phil McKinney
Phil McKinney
3 min read
The Unreasonable Quest for World-Changing Innovation

Innovation is about breaking the norm, pushing the limits, and challenging the status quo. It requires a mindset that is not easily swayed by the force of convention but instead focuses on the possibilities that lie beyond them. This is where the unreasonable come in. As Bernard Shaw once said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Why is being unreasonable necessary for world-changing innovation? How do you embrace your inner unreasonable to make a difference?

To Be Unreasonable

What does it mean to be unreasonable? Being unreasonable does not mean being irrational, reckless, or impractical. Instead, it means having the courage to question the status quo and challenge the assumptions that limit our progress. It means thinking out of the box and challenging the norms. It means being bold, audacious, and daring to take risks that many are unwilling or too afraid to take.

To be unreasonable, you need to have a mindset not bound by the limits of what is deemed possible. You have to be willing to explore beyond what has previously been done and push the envelope on what can be achieved. This requires the courage and determination to step outside your comfort zone and embrace the unknown.

"Dare to step beyond the ordinary, for it's within the realm of the extraordinary that the seeds of innovation are sown."

Balance Between Optimism and Realism

Of course, there are times when being too unreasonable can be detrimental. It's essential to find a balance between boundless optimism and grounded realism. Being unreasonable doesn't mean ignoring logic or reality. It means finding the courage to challenge it when necessary. To know where the boundary of unreasonableness lies, you need to be in touch with your intuition, experience, and expertise. You need to be able to differentiate between when your idea is far-fetched or unreasonable and when it’s feasible and worth pursuing.

That dance between optimism and realism is a delicate one. On the one hand, optimism fuels the audacious dreams and aspirations that drive innovation. It is the force that propels the unreasonable to aim beyond the known to envision a brighter and more prosperous future.

On the other hand, realism acts as the grounding element. It keeps the unreasonable tethered to the present reality, allowing them to make informed decisions based on facts and current circumstances. This does not mean they accept situations as they are, rather they understand the starting point of their journey towards transformation.

The balance lies in leveraging optimism to dream and aspire for the extraordinary while using realism to plan and strategize. Too much optimism without a grounding realism can lead to impractical solutions and wasted efforts. Conversely, too much realism without sufficient optimism can stifle creativity and hinder progress.

So, the unreasonable innovator is one who dreams with their feet firmly planted on the ground. They envision a better world fuelled by optimism, but they also understand the present challenges, informed by realism. This balance allows them to create solutions that are not only transformative but also achievable.

How To Be Unreasonable

So, how do you embrace your inner unreasonable and go about changing the world?

First, you need to be passionate about your cause. Passion is what fuels the drive to pursue your vision and enables you to overcome the obstacles that are bound to arise along the way.

Secondly, you need to be creative and innovative in your approach. Find new ways to approach problems and develop solutions that are outside of the box.

Thirdly, be persistent. You need to be dogged in your pursuit of success and never give up when faced with failure.

Finally, be willing to fail. Being unreasonable means taking risks. Failure is inevitable but also a necessary aspect of growth and progress. Learning from failure is critical to creating innovative products and solutions.


Progress depends on the unreasonable. To achieve world-changing innovation, you need to be willing to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of what is deemed possible. Being unreasonable requires passion, creativity, persistence, and the courage to take risks and embrace failure. But it’s important to remember to balance being optimistic and grounded in realism. It’s essential to challenge assumptions that limit progress.

Be unreasonable, and make a difference.


Phil McKinney Twitter

Phil McKinney is an innovator, podcaster, author, and speaker. He is the retired CTO of HP. Phil's book, Beyond The Obvious, shares his expertise and lessons learned on innovation and creativity.


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