Today’s entry will deal primarily with the art of innovation.
Innovation is something of a buzzword among our generation–perhaps so much so that it’s no longer entirely clear what it means. Accordingly, it has become worthy of my more penetrating (and relatively practical!) philosophical attentions.
Here are a few of the things that genuine, true-to-heart and cutting-edge innovation entails:
- An insatiable thirst to succeed;
- The correct resources/resource-gathering strategies (tricky, for the self-sacrificing entrepreneur);
- A clear passion for what one does (much easier to identify, than to truly follow);
- The ability to keenly foresee consumer needs that are mostly invisible to others (most people can’t do this well);
- The will to follow up on a vision and successfully bring one’s ideas to fruition; and
- The ability to persuade prospective partners and the masses that one’s product is truly worth investing in, and is far more effective than everything else out there (exactly because it’s so different from everything else).
Not everyone has the resources, willpower, psychological resilience, or even the innate creativity necessary to be an authentic innovator. There are many phases involved the in process of innovating, and many personal traits required by the visionary–self-sacrifice and the willingness to risk it ‘all’ (i.e. one’s own sanity) high up among them.
To be clear, this post is nothing very innovative. But I think it’s important to pause on what makes something truly novel and worth its target market’s while. There’s a lot of talk about entrepreneurship and innovation in our generation, but not the appropriate amalgamation of factors to turn enough of our ideas into longstanding realities during our own lifetimes.
“During our own lifetimes”–to the aspiring innovator, that “our” is relatively immaterial. Why? Because this type of person sees past the confines of their present time, the conventions that define their surrounding society, the go-to methods it deems “correct, respectable and reliable” in order to succeed. What’s familiar and “secure” is by no means the driver behind the unique innovator’s work-related impetus.
The successful pioneer commits unhesitatingly to the future worth of their investments, and plants the seeds necessary for their efforts to be of worth to the hearts and souls of a posterity that will benefit from (and henceforth reap the rewards of) their work.
The biggest problem, however–as I will discuss in the forthcoming days–is that the overwhelming majority of self-labeling entrepreneurs are far more attached to their own egos and material success, than to the thought of enhancing the future of their species’ hitherto undefined standards of life.
The problem I see plaguing so-called startups, more so than attachment to egos and material success, is the over-emphasis of the startup process.
Today, startup founders are continually glorified in the media. Many startups founded upon unsustainable and undisruptive ideas are acquired by corporate giants. “Startup schools” “teach” “innovators” the “startup process”. Ultimately, society today reinforces the “process first, idea second” mindset. The startup has become the goal, rather than the journey. This “idea gold rush” has, thus far, yielded a high signal-to-noise ratio as far as “true innovation” goes.
Entrepreneurs today are skilled at marketing ideas. How good it would be if they had those.
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