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Innovate or Die

Apr 14 2021

It’s a pretty catchy title. And it’s meant to be. See, innovation isn’t really an option. Either you are growing, or you are fading. Nature isn’t stagnant, and as living beings, neither are we. God designed us with growth and innovation at our core – and any act of creativity is an act of daughtership / sonship.

Innovation is one of those things that everyone knows, but only few attempt, and even fewer make it a practice. It seems to breathe rarified air, being spoken of either in hushed tones of reference for the select few, or being trotted around every time someone finds a new syrup they can add to their coffee – but the reality is, innovation has core principles that will enable you to take a quantum leap forward if you enact them.

Here’s a handful:

1NE

INNOVATION IS NOT JUST STARTING BUT STOPPING.

If you want something new – you have to stop doing something old.” – Peter Drucker

Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” – Steve Jobs

Innovation isn’t always about addition; sometimes it’s more marked by taking away the old than adding the new. This means you are no longer using resources on something that’s no longer taking new territory, and also allows you more bandwidth to create something that correlates with your goals. If you’re looking to innovate this year, ask yourself: ‘what do I need to /STOP/ doing?’

TW2

INNOVATION IS BOTTOM UP, RARELY TOP DOWN.

Innovation is slower than you think, and normally lower than you think. We tend to imagine it being a lightning strike of imagination, a light bulb emoji appearing over our heads, or even more implausibly, a flash of brilliance from the CEO. But in reality, most innovations are born out of necessity. A dearth of resources. A lack of ability. A forced adjustment that ends up being more future- friendly than the existing. If you are looking for innovation, you will likely find it where the people are connected to the ground, not where a few people have their head in the clouds. This process WILL take longer, but will also be increasingly worthwhile.

THR3E

INNOVATION IS A FRIEND OF FAILURE.

Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore.” – Steven Johnson

Way too often, failure causes us to slow to a grinding halt; where it should really be an accelerant that pushes us forward into new discoveries. Innovators aren’t afraid of making mistakes, as they know mistakes are a key ingredient of any success. If you want to innovate, make failure your ally. Allow it to send you into new fields of discovery. The only way you will embrace the next step, is when you realise you’re running out of runway.

F4UR

INNOVATION IS ALREADY HAPPENING.

Regardless of your preference, opinion, or proclivities, innovation is happening. You are only presented with the option to adapt your thinking or step aside and let the future through. Innovation is a road that all can walk, not an Everest only few can summit.

If you so choose, you can engage in new thinking by shedding the old. You can go to the coalface of your field where innovations are closest to hand, and you can make friends with failure. And then, you will be well on the way to creating a future worth chasing.