Issue #03: Innovation isn’t an Idea problem

The problem is in the very definition of innovation.

Like creativity, innovation straddles fluff and science in a way that makes it harder to define and strategise.

But innovation isn’t a new thing. It’s just a new buzzword.

See, it isn’t about inventing new things.

It’s about seeing existing things in new ways, and making it work.

Thomas Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. But he improved upon prototypes and figured out what wasn’t working with the ideas of 22 other men. And he knew how to sell the light bulb.

The tools and problems we have may differ in today’s world, but the process remains the same. Look at things in unconventional ways, disrupt old ways of doing things, make it work. And get a patent and the tenacity to sell the socks off anyone you meet.

And the new tools and capabilities we have can help us help those we never could before. Solar as renewable energy. Neo-biological advancements. Blockchain transparency.

I’ve always been a strong believer in having a broad range of interests.

Sure, it’s tougher to market yourself this way unless you have the brains to specialise in five different fields at the same time.

But looking at things in ways never before does not come with doing what was done before. Think of it as conscious mutation — changing things in deliberate ways to strengthen what is. Spontaneous mutations are age-old proof of what could work.

Innovation isn’t some burst of inspiration or a formulated response to issues. And it isn’t a solo pursuit. Fertilisation of thought hardly thrives in silos.

So here’s something you could think about.

Stay curious. Keep your minds open and agile. Be okay with being bored. You’re just thinking.

Seek differences. We’ll be the better for it.

Issue #02: Picking Creativity apart

Issue #05: Empathy in design