“Good artists create, great artists steal.” Innovation should be the watch word.
I can stop writing after that one line and expect, however, that whoever reads it can make an association to the title with as little information as I have given here. But for the sake of clarity I will continue.
No idea is original. Everything that exists right now is a spinoff of something else. Someone created a phone before someone else made a mobile phone. Someone saw the mobile phone and decided to create text messaging. Someone saw text messaging and decided to add emails to mobile phone features. Someone saw emails and decided to upgrade the name from mobile phone to smartphone.
And so on.
So, it’s not farfetched to ponder if it was the one-time popular Myspace that inspired Facebook. Everything basically evolved from something else.
It cannot be so hard to believe that. After all, some people believe we came from monkeys.
The point of this all is to remind the entrepreneur that innovation is your watchword. Disruption is innovation; the desire to shake up the status quo. Think about Uber, currently the world’s largest taxi service; yet it does not have a single vehicle to its name.
How do you innovate?
As with almost everything else, innovation starts with a question or series of questions – or making insights into looking at making a good thing better; challenging the status quo – yours, if and when necessary. ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a popular saying, but ‘not fixing it’ is not quite the same as ‘being complacent’. It’s always important to take a step back and to reflect; go over things and ask questions. There are always lessons to learn no matter how long you have been in business.
Where can improvements be made?
Coca Cola and Pepsi. In spite of the many efforts of Pepsi, Coke still remains the preferred cola drink all over the world.
While the content of the bottle remains pretty much the same, Coke is one brand that has never been afraid to innovate – at least, where their branding is concerned. And with that innovation, they remain fresh and consistent in the eyes of their customers – which is the only way to remain relevant.
Imagine you get a call that you have been appointed CEO of Pepsi for one day, what would you change and what would you retain? What would you do differently?
You might be thinking, ‘why should I bother? That’s something that can never happen;’ and you’re right. But in answering that question, you’ll probably find the answer to a lot more; and they will be things you can relate to your own business.
Disruption is key.
No matter how many times it has been said, it still needs to be reiterated because we never seem to get the point or understand it: comfort zones are killers.
You have to disrupt things to make any kind of lasting impact on your business or anywhere else for that matter. You have to come against the traditional ways of thinking, even your own if necessary. It’s like stirring a pool of water; usually the best objects and valuables are hiding at the bottom beneath the surface.
Ask yourself: what parts of my job are irrelevant/relevant? What is my competition doing to stay ahead of me? Is there anything that customers really want? Where do we come into that? If there are two things that the company is doing right now that I can correct/cancel, what and what would they be? Is there anything that anyone else is selling that we can offer for free?
These are just a few examples I have come up with. I’m sure just looking at them will open your thoughts along similar or even completely different lines of thought. It doesn’t matter how you came up with it or what inspired it, it just matters that it is the end to a traditional way of thinking – and that it opens up new ways of thought and, therefore, new ways of being effective at doing what you do best.
Don’t be afraid to start all over again. Sometimes, that is the best way to do anything worthwhile.
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Photo Credit: Venture Africa