We are witnessing an unprecedented level of innovation. Today we have more opportunity for innovation than ever before. These opportunities allowed 2 Stanford students to create a universal search engine. That search engine became the logo of the digital age. The opportunities for innovation that Google founders had is available to you too. These opportunities for innovation promise massive rewards to the innovators. What are your doing about these opportunities?
The opportunities for innovation
Two guys met up in 2012 and complained about the high cost of razor blades. Instead of complaining, they decided to solve the problem. They created Dollar Shave Club that garnered over 8% of razor and blades market in the presence of a giant such as Gillette.
As an undergraduate student at Princeton, Jack Bogle wrote a thesis that led him to develop the concept of an index fund. That idea became a wave in the investment community. It helped Jack build the largest asset management company in the world, Vanguard.
Not all innovators go on to become entrepreneurs. In 1931, a Camay advertising manager names McElroy was frustrated with how P&G was managing its businesses. He wrote a memo that proposed an innovative way to manage consumer goods business. That concept was brand management which became a major organizational innovation.
In the more recent past, Brad Garlinghouse, a senior manager at Yahoo was unhappy about the direction of the company. He felt that Yahoo had lost its way and was bound for oblivion. Instead of silently whining about it, Brad took action. He wrote the now famous Peanut Butter Manifesto wherein he proposed how Yahoo should fix itself.
These are just a handful of examples that show the tremendous innovation opportunities that exist all around you. Whether you are an entrepreneur or work in the corporate world, you are surrounded by more opportunities than you can exploit.
The rewards for the innovator
Innovators make the world a better place and are thus richly rewarded. Dollar Shave Club (DSC) helped hundreds of thousands of people lower their shaving costs. DSC was recently bought by Unilever for $1bn leaving its founders a lot richer than they were in 2012.
Innovators make the world a better place and are thus richly rewarded
Jack Bogle single-handedly transformed the mutual funds industry. He educated investors and lowered their cost of investing. These actions improved lives of hundreds of millions of investors. He regularly donated half his salary to charities and still retired a wealthy man.
McElroy not only designed the brand management system that became a standard for the industry but also went on to become the CEO of Procter & Gamble.
Beyond the rewards
Although innovators end up with riches, promotions, and titles, there is something beyond these extrinsic rewards that they receive.
Imagine how it would feel to have transformed the global mutual funds industry or the consumer goods industry. The feeling of such achievement itself is priceless. The legacy these innovators leave shows the mark they make on the world.
But beyond the riches, legacy and a feeling of achievement there is something even more important that innovators get. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Creativity, says “Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives … most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity… [and] when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”
Above all, innovators derive meaning that every human being craves.
Innovation and you
Given the numerous opportunities available to you for innovation, you already are an innovator. You come up with new ideas often. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a professional, or work in the corporate world, this holds equally well for you. You come up with ideas to solve problems and improve the world around you. That makes you an innovator.
When you apply this innovation energy in your job and careers, you begin to improve the world on a larger scale. When you implement the principles of high impact innovation, you become a powerful innovator.
By becoming a powerful innovator, you take the first steps from the realm of meeting expectations to exceeding expectations. You take the first steps toward excellence. As a result, you not only set yourself up for rich rewards and bigger roles but also create meaning in your life. This is a powerful motive to strive to become a more effective innovator.
What actions did you take in the last week to become a powerful innovator?