Fantasy is where say “what if…?”, frustration starts with “that’s interesting…” and fear is where we say “oh-oh.” All three of those sentiments can drive us to discover new ideas – but to innovate you need all three things: your great new idea, you have to make it real, and you have to unlock value for people.
If change is inevitable, it’s always better to be the driver of change, rather than waiting for it to come, and then reacting. If you’re big, you have the resources available to do this. But you also have an existing core business that can keep you from acting. If you’re faced with this conflict, the best step is to start experimenting.
The summer after my first year at university I got a job at a feed mill. According to my financial aid agreement, I had to make several thousand dollars over the summer that I could contribute to my overall expenses. We had just moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone, so I had no connections.
Experimenting is a critical innovation skill. None of us think twice about learning to ride a bike through trial and error, so why is it so rare in business? There are two main reasons. One is risk aversion: in a work setting, people don’t like to make mistakes, and they don’t like to look foolish.
When was the last time you played with LEGOs? For me, it must have been at least 35 years, maybe longer. But then last month I built the LEGO version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House, part of the LEGO Architecture Series.