Passion is the mother of innovation

Skills moves us forward, passion leaps us forward !

Today I am sitting in my garden office / “man cave” in self-isolation with my family here in London, which is a veritable ghost town. Fortunately we are all safe and healthy and I hope you and your family are as well. Staying home is the only cure for this terrible pandemic at the moment, yet I am confident that with the passion and commitment of scientists around the world, we will soon have a greater understanding of the epistomology of COVID-19 and also an effective vaccine.

There seems to be a global passion, and outright necessity, to solve this terrible situation and get all of us back with our friends and family and doing what we do best, being productive and moving society forward.

I’m not a scientist so will leave the realm of innovation in anti-virus vaccines to others, but I do want to talk about innovation in fly fishing, something I am passionate about.

It seems that a good way to explain innovation is the passion to take the ordinary and accepted and make a step change in its effectiveness. What was once effective or showing potential, with innovation becomes spectacularly more effective and useful.

Take the electric vehicle for example. For decades the promise of the electric vehicle was not realized, since speed and battery life could never equal that of petrol vehicles, and cost was a barrier as well. Yet as the need for a replacement for CO2 emitting petrol cars became more and more important, passionate people turned their energies to innovative solutions.

And thus the Tesla was born, which (before the COVIS-19 crisis) had a market value greater than Ford and GM combined. A 300+ mile battery range and an acceleration near that of a Cobra, along with an impressive human-auto digital interface has made it the most popular option for non-petrol transportation.

In flyfishing, I ran across a really interesting and highly useful innovation during my last trip to Patagonia, Argentina for monster rainbow trout. It’s called the Balanced Leech (or in my words the Level Leech).

Basically, nealy all artificial flies are tied at the front through an eyelet in the hook, and the fly dressing is added along the shank. Now, when such a fly is attached to a leader and fished, in most cases, especially in lake fishing, it tends to hand vertically in the water. How may times do real leeches hang vertically? But since hooks have always been constructed with the eye at the front of the shank, nearly all flies tend to hang vertically.

Excuse my feeble drawing, but this is the concept. Traditional vs Natural

There are several links on Youtube about how to tie the Balanced Leech.

Why didn’t I think of that! And for me, flyfishing on Jurassic Lake in Patagonia, it worked like a treat, especially in rough weather, which is most of the time there. Something about a more natural presentation I suspect.

I like it when people come up with new innovations on traditional approaches. Sometimes they revolutionize the way we do things. Facebook, vs email, is a great example of taking social connections and communications to a whole new level. Likewise digital photography vs traditional film. And the list goes on.

Hurray for those who try new things to improve how we work and play. And I am definitely rooting for the scientists working on a cure and vaccine for COVID-19. Most importantly to save human lives.

But I guess I would also say, so we can get back out there fishing again.

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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1 Response to Passion is the mother of innovation

  1. Mark McNeil says:

    Always enjoy your writing

    Sent from my iPhone



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