INNOVATION – THE 3RD EYE
what is it?
Innovation to me is finding something of value to society through research that ultimately solves a present or unknown problem and changes the way one might have previously perceived the problem. With this stated, innovation is ultimately the reason why we can be thankful for the many new convinces of the 21st century.
The biggest secret of innovation is that anyone can do it. The reason is simple: It’s just not that hard. Look up the word “innovate” in any dictionary and see what it actually means, instead of what you think it means you’ll find something like this: To innovate is “to introduce something new.” That’s it. It doesn’t say you need to be a creative genius, a workaholic. It’s just three little words: introduce something new.
The key word in the definition is “new.” The common trap about newness is the assumption that new means something the universe has never seen before. Name any great innovator, and I guarantee they borrowed and reused ideas from the past to make whatever it is they are famous for.
The Wright brothers, inventors of powered flight in the United States, spent hours watching birds. As boring as it seems, we have bird-watching to thank for the supersonic jet planes we have today. Picasso’s development of cubism, one of the great artistic movements of the last two centuries, was heavily influenced by his exposure to African painting styles, as well as the work of an older French painter, Cezanne. And Thomas Edison did not create the concept of powered light: You’d have to talk to thousands of people who died before Edison was born who turned wood, wax, oil, and other fuels into controllable and portable light sources (not to mention Joseph Swan, who patented the electric light before Edison).
All these examples prove that the trick to innovation is to widen your perspective on what qualifies as new. As long as your idea, or your use of an existing idea, is new to the person you are creating it for, or applies an existing concept in a new way, you qualify as an innovator from their point of view, and that’s all that matters. The easiest place to start is with things you do every day. Simply ask: Who else does this, and how do they do it differently? If you only know one way to do something, you’re making a big assumption. You’re betting that of the infinite ways there are to do it, the single one you know is the best. Many great innovators asked better questions than everyone else, and that’s part of why they were successful.
Asking questions is one thing, but trying to answer them is another. There is no substitute for firsthand experience when creating things. The unique aspects of who you are, including qualities you may not like about yourself, is an asset when it comes to creative thinking. No one can see the world exactly the way that you do. The last step is not to expect success the first time. If you’re doing something new for yourself or your friends, it’s hard to predict what the outcome will be. And the bigger the innovation, the more risk and work..
Throughout the last decade innovation has been the life line to development of great new products and a better standard of living. These products have ranged from the development of the internet to more simple products such as the mach 3 razors. Even in today’s high-technology world you can find easy connections between what we call “new” and ideas from the past. The World Wide Web and the Internet get their names from things thousands of years old. The first webs were made by spiders, and the first nets were used to catch fish by indigenous people around the world, thousands of years before the first computer. Google, the wonderful search tool, is often called a search engine, in reference to concepts of physical mechanics, not digital bits.
Since long hours of work might be required to satisfy your curiosity, what’s important is how you respond to failure. Can you find the courage to respond not with embarrassment or regret, but with more questions: Why did this fail? What can I learn now? What will I do differently next time? If you can, like most great inventors and creators throughout history did, you’ll be well on your way.
Though innovation path may appear serendipitous, make no mistake, innovation only connects with alert mind and seeking spirit.
“Discovery holds meaning only for the one whose mind is prepared to draw an inference, the one who has applied himself most perseveringly to the subject.” Charles Goodyear.
( International Trainer, Motivator & Coach
Edexcel Level – 4 Btec Professional Award ( UK)
ITOL Diploma in Coaching Excellence (UK) )