Disruption Is the Source of Innovation

How to Develop an Innovation Mindset Using Disruption As Leverage

Helio Borges
6 min readOct 31, 2023
Mindfulness & Innovation. Dortmund, Germany. Oct. 2023. Pictures, GlasCampus Torgau

You can read the article in Spanish here.

I was recently invited to facilitate an Innovation workshop in Dortmund, Germany, by GlasCampus Torgau, a center for training, innovation, and research and development for the German glass industry.

GCT has decided to renew itself to face the systemic disruptions originating from causes beyond its control. Therefore, they created a development program “specifically designed for the growing needs of industrial team leaders and managers to act confidently in times of ongoing disruption and change” (www. en.glascampus.de/attentability/).

I operate in Latin America, a subcontinent facing chronic systemic disruptions. I am dedicated to helping change agents develop their innovation mindset, which is the spark that ignites the cultural transformation of organizations and societies. To this end, I created an “Innovation Leadership Program” that intends to develop a culture of innovation and creativity to face the disruptions that characterize these times.

An innovation mindset is the spark that ignites the cultural transformation of organizations and societies.

Sebastian Rudolf, Operations Manager of Glas Campus Torgau, and I met in the global Theory U change agents' community and saw that our work complemented each other. Specifically, one module of my program, “Innovation Bootcamp,” was an excellent fit for what they had in mind.

Teamwork. Reinhold Pabst, Sebastian Rudolf, Helio Borges. Pictures GlasCampus Torgau

Here is his explanation of our work together:

Why does GlasCampus Torgau invite Helio Borges, a Venezuelan-Canadian lecturer and coach who lives far away?

Because if you want to work with people on mindset, you need a certain skillset. And a certain level of sophistication. That’s not easy to find.

And it needs another important ingredient: trust. Trust in the fact that the teacher himself/herself has walked through the processes that he/she wants to develop in others.

Such trust is the prerequisite for doing what our industry stakeholders have requested of us. To create a program that invites people and groups to shift attention.

The goal is to build and maintain a strong corporate community that can withstand fear, judgment and cynicism; some of the most prevailing obstacles when it comes to change and innovation.

Our program is designed to deliver just that.

Sebastian Rudolf

We deconstructed and adapted “Innovation Bootcamp” to their audiences, which became Pause & Shift, an invitation to cultivate mindful decision-making, which is the opening module of the 30-hour program, Mindfulness & Innovation, to address the disconnectedness at present times and to reap the rewards for self-development, team cohesion, and innovation.

Finally, two weeks ago, I was honored to facilitate it in a four-hour format to more than thirty salespeople from one of Europe’s leading hi-tech glass manufacturers. They came from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S.A.

Developing an Innovation Mindset

How do you teach innovation to a group of high-performing salespeople?

You don’t!

Innovation is a mindset, not a skillset. You don’t learn how to do innovation; you become an innovator through having disruptive experiences and learning from them.


Disruption is the Source of Innovation.

The program is about real people experiencing real work challenges viewed through the lens of a series of activities that help them progressively shift their mindset from habitual to more creative and innovative.

In the workshop, the participants passed through the following experiences:

Listening with Intention. Most leadership experts agree that authentic leadership starts with listening. Putting attention to that capacity kicks off our program.

Storytelling. Great storytellers, like Steve Jobs, owned their stories, honoring them. It is impossible to build the story of the future if you don’t own and honor the story of your past. Our participants owned their stories as stepping stones for the future.

Journaling. That capacity allows you to own your story, honor it, and begin authoring your future story.

Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves noticing what’s happening in the present moment without judgment. Without mindful attention, disruption is just a problem to be solved. Of course, disruption, viewed as a problem, is unsolvable. Consequently, you need to shift your attention. Because

Shifting attention is the lever that transforms disruption into an opportunity to innovate.

Systems Mapping. “No man is an island,” as Jonn Donne said. In our personal and professional lives, we live and act in systems within systems that interact with each other. To innovate, we need to develop a systemic view of our world. In the workshop, our participants could experience that working with systems could be simple and fun.

3-D Mapping, a methodology developed by the u-school for Transformation. Boston. Pictures, GlasCampus Torgau

Those individual and collective experiences allowed our participants to enter an Innovation Mindset. Consequently, they had the opportunity to focus on being more creative, perceiving new actionable pathways, and acting more creatively in their work.


The feedback received immediately after our course was positive. Participants acknowledged the importance of self-reflection, open communication, and adaptability. Here are some of the participant’s key takeaways, grouped under the voices I learned, I’ll adopt, I see, I feel, I struggle:

Learn: I learned to question ourselves and be creative constantly. I learned to open my mind. I learned to look at situations from all directions. I learned to be deliberate in my speech and listen more intentionally without judgment.

Adopt: I’ll be more open to others. I’ll adopt a new behavior with more listening and sensitivity without prejudice. I’ll adopt listening without judgment as much as I can.

See: I see clearly. I see how I use my words affects how somebody hears and understands what I’m trying to say. I see myself better prepared to be self-reflecting and adapting to new situations. I see that self-reflection and listening are key. I see an incredible group dynamic. I see other possibilities and perspectives.

Feel: I feel inspired. I feel encouraged to spend more effort listening without trying to formulate a response. I feel better knowing that I can readjust difficult situations at any time. I feel a new team spirit and creativity.

Struggle: I struggle to hold back my opinion. I struggle to leave my comfort zone and talk about feelings in a working environment. I struggle to concentrate. I struggle to share my feelings. I struggle with listening and answering without judging and advising.

Upon reading the affirmations mentioned above, we can conclude that:

  • Participants are committed to questioning themselves, being creative, and listening to customers and colleagues.
  • They recognize the significance of self-reflection and open-mindedness in communicating.
  • Many are determined to improve their listening skills without judgment.
  • Participants see the value of viewing situations from multiple perspectives.
  • Communication is recognized as more than just speaking and listening; it involves understanding and self-reflection.
  • Participants acknowledge the challenge of stepping out of their comfort zones and discussing feelings in a professional context.

This feedback reflects a positive change in mindset and a readiness to embrace new behaviors and strategies, such as shifting the focus inward, emphasizing self-reflection, and adopting alternative approaches, including improving listening skills. This, in turn, positions individuals and groups to achieve superior outcomes and cultivate resilient communities capable of withstanding and navigating the ongoing disruptions of present times.


Helio Borges: hborgesg@gmail.com

GlasCampus Torgau: sebastian.rudolf@glascampus.de



Helio Borges

Executive & Team Coach & Mentor. Cultural Transformation Change Agent & Consultant. Twitter: @hborgesg. Instagram: @heboga. FB: helio.borges.35. Uriji: @hborges