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Montaigne’s innovator mindset

20120726-214704.jpg As he travelled 16th century Europe with a small entourage of servants, secretary and family members polishing their education, Michel de Montaigne regretted the absence of… his cook.

Such attitude was typical innovator mindset.

The reader would be forgiven for seeing in Montaigne’s regret the expression of typical French snobism about food – or, should I say, cuisine. After all, a nobleman living on his estate half-way between Perigueux and Bordeaux would have been used to dining in style and might have found the food in traveller’s lodges along foreign highways a lot less pallatable.

But, to the dismay of his entourage, Montaigne, wanderer of the diversity of human customs, philosopher of the commonality of human nature, enjoyed every bit of difference that he came across. If he regretted the absence of his cook, it is not because he would have preferred to feel at home; it is because he would have wanted the cook to learn all those new recipes!

The willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, the open-mindedness to explore what’s different, and the eagerness to learn and internalise it, make for great innovators.

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