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Innovation is not a good idea

It's about working on a really great problem
Dateline: 5 April 2023

You might have a great idea, and be obsessed with it, to the extent that you can’t sleep, can barely eat, and all your conscious hours are spent on thinking how you can improve on this idea, and share it with the world.

Stop. This is not how innovation, truly great, disruptive innovation, works.

It’s all very well to be obsessed; but be obsessed with a problem, a real problem. Like how to feed the world, or solve water scarcity, or make a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon, and costs 1,000 dollars. Better yet, make rush-hour traffic disappear.

The great entrepreneurs and innovators, like Elon Musk, don’t start with an idea, and then hone it to perfection. No, they start with a desire to change the world, to really make a difference, for about a billion people, or maybe everyone.

The world is full of problems. It’s also full of bright guys and gals with great, really great ideas. But don’t come up with a sexy solution to a non-existent problem and expect the world to beat a path to your door.

In this day and age of flat, global, connected society, and markets, no one is interested in your space grey or rose gold ‘metoo’ widget, even if it is endorsed by the hottest celebrity in history. It’s all so last-century marketing, that they used to teach in college.

But if you can solve real-world problems, both first-world and third-world, then you might have a winner. And be prepared to obsess over that, until you get it right.

Take Uber as an example. They started with a real problem; there are plenty of taxis when you don’t need one, and never enough when you do. And you never knew when it would arrive and how much it would cost, so you just didn’t bother.

They took a generic device like the location-aware smartphone, and created a new industry, and then developed it from there. Genius!

So if you’re keen on innovation, don’t start with a good idea. Look for a truly great problem. Then solve it.

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Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

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