With innovation, there are two fundamental questions we need immediate answers to. One is, who is an innovator?, and the other, why is everyone not an innovator?
The answer to the first one is quite simple. “Anyone doing something differently” is an innovator. And It is not surprising that the poster company for innovative consumer products, has their company tagline has “Think Different”. That company is Apple.
Being an innovator is all about doing things differently, and I think everyone should be capable of that. Anyone can be an innovator. No one is too young or old, rich or poor, weak or strong to do things differently. So, if anyone can do things differently, why isn’t everyone doing it? Why is everyone not an innovator?
There are a few reasons why everyone cannot do things differently. For starters, doing things differently implies you are not okay with how it is currently done. Not everyone is unsatisfied with how it is currently done. You will always find people who are okay with how things are done. They are okay with the status-quo. These people do not need to innovate.
Before you start judging these people as “laggards”, you must know that we are all like this in at least one area of our life. There must be at least one area of your life you are absolutely okay with. For normal people, there are many areas. For example, I am fine with my bathing soap. There is probably someone who thinks we could bathe differently, but I am absolutely cool with what we currently have.
An innovator is not doing everything differently. If you find someone doing everything differently, he is most likely crazy, run! But there is always one thing that could be done differently, and this is what the innovator expends his energy on.
Another reason, and I think this is the more likely reason, everyone is not an innovator, is fear. It takes a lot of courage to do things differently. It takes a special kind of courage to tell everyone, “the way you have done this particular thing is not good enough, my way is better”.
Think about it; that spirit to go against the flow, must be very courageous. And likely curious, arrogant and stubborn too. You are certain to find these traits in innovators, especially that last one.
Innovators don’t look ahead and see all the obstacles and difficulties they will need to overcome. They can’t afford to see them, all they see is the vision of a different world where things are done the new way — their way.
Innovators don’t just think and talk; they do. And “doing” is where things get difficult, where bets are placed, and lives are changed, for good or for worse.
But it doesn’t have to that way. The innovator does not have to be a gambler. There is a process to innovation. There is a way to create great products, and there is a way to get your audience to like that product. There is a way to get everyone to see that your way, is, better.
And it is in finding this way I have started this initiative, the Innovators’ friend. Because every innovator needs a friend. A friend who understands how tough the journey can be. A friend who can watch their back. A friend who will be supportive through the mistakes. And maybe once in a while, share a few lessons.
Who am I? I am Mayowa. I started my first technology business in 2007, when I was 21. I have built software for enterprise businesses to improve their business process; I have built technology product that was translated to seven languages and got sold in over 22 countries; I have also built software that never even got used by up to a thousand people.
Basically, I have learnt a lot from experience. There is more to building a successful technology business, than just the technology itself. And it is this experience I want to share with you, and in so doing, learn a lot from your experience too.
It isn’t going to be just me sharing my experience though; once in a while, I will invite a few friends over and they will share theirs too. There is a lot to be learnt from anyone who has gone through a journey. And such a person is always a friend to innovators.
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