Innovation is a Requirement for Survival

Many people think of innovation as something that only a select few get to do.  They think of people like Steve Jobs innovating and revolutionizing the smart phone world.  Or James Dyson and his vacuum cleaners.  Or perhaps, on a more local level, Big Sky Collision Center innovating and turning the auto repair industry on its head.

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But those are just the big examples.  Those are some examples that shook up industries and became immensely popular in our culture today.  Innovation, however, happens many times throughout the day on a much smaller level.  In fact, you have probably innovated today without even realizing it.

The Three Components of Innovation

We often get stuck in routines.  We set up a standard of doing things, and then we stick to that standard.  That routine.  That system.  The result is that our lives can end up on auto pilot where we just live day to day.  It may sound boring, but that’s simply how we function effectively.  That is, until something interrupts our routine.

The first component of innovation is what we have.  Everyone has gifts, abilities, resources, thoughts, ideas, and skills.  Without them we would do nothing but breathe.  We use what we have to meet our needs.

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The second component of innovation is what we want.  We know where we are, and we know where we want to be.

For innovation to occur there must be a conflict between what we have and what we want.  For instance, I want to have a new car.  I don’t have the resources (money) for a new car, so I must innovate and figure out how to get what I want using what I have (or adding to what I have).

But a desire, want, or dream, cannot turn into a reality without one more essential component.

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The third component of innovation is a will.  I may want that new car, but if my will isn’t strong enough I won’t change anything and thus I will never move past the first step: the conflict.  That will is motivated by other external factors.  If I wreck my current car, then my will is going to get bigger since I will be walking or riding a bicycle everywhere.

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You have what you have, and it doesn’t jive with what you want.  Your will to change gets strong enough and innovation occurs so that you can move that desire into the category of what you already have.

So in the car scenario: there is conflict because I desire a new car, but don’t have the means to buy one, and my will is strong enough to make something change.  So I innovate and start a side job to earn money in order to get the car that I want.  Or I innovate and research loan rates to finance a new vehicle.

Innovation in Everyday Life

Of course it doesn’t have to be that complicated.  We innovate all the time without realizing it.

  • The conflict: I’m hungry and there isn’t an easy option. The will to be sated get strong enough so I innovate and cook a meal.
  • The conflict: I’m running late to work and traffic is going to be bad. The will not to get fired is strong enough so I innovate and take an alternate route.
  • The conflict: I want to watch two TV shows that are on at the same time. The will to see both is strong enough so I innovate and watch one live while I DVR (or watch later online) the other.
  • The conflict: I want to be healthy and I want to rest in the morning. The will to be healthy and feel good is stronger so I cut some leisure from the evening and work out before dinner.

You can probably think of a bunch of examples.

When to Innovate

Innovation is what keeps us moving along.  But innovating and solving the problem of what’s for dinner isn’t going to be earth shattering.  The true innovation comes when you create a system so that innovation can take place every time.

For example, you’re constantly struggling with dinner ideas, so you plan out a month of meals.  You make shopping lists per week, and now all you have to do is go down the list and shop for exactly what you need that week.  No more guesswork, no more staring at the fridge, and no more wasted money on impulse buys.

Are you innovating?  Or are you expecting change by doing the same thing over and over?









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