How Innovation Happens

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Scenario: "Dude, I haven't received that Eureka moment yet! I'll wait until I get it, then I'll start my kick-ass business. Then, I'll make jillions. Yay!" Uh-oh.

How Innovation Doesn't Happen

Waiting for those Eureka moments never happens. People who wait to get those Eureka moments either:
  • never get them

    That is, they'll wait, wait, and wait for that one idea to pop up in their heads. It won't happen. According to Sir Harold Evans, author of They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine: Two Centuries of Innovators:
    The eureka moment is a hugely attractive idea, full of drama. But the act of inventing and improving is far more often a long, hard slog. And the act of capitalizing on invention -- of managing the transition from a brain wave to the bustle of the marketplace -- is the really hard part.
  • get really sad ideas

    "I'm going to build a 100-pound waterproof jacket for single-engine planes. When they crash in the ocean, they'll float. I'll make billions. You know a good venture capital firm?" Sure, we're stretching it a bit -- but you get the point. Trying to transform an entire industry you just discovered two days ago never works.

How to Innovate Successfully

The Trizoko 3:
  1. Learn as much about what you're trying to innovate.

    For instance: If you're trying to:
    • build a kick-ass basketball team: learn as much as you can about basketball, teamwork, human psychology, etc.
    • create innovative pizza toppings: learn as much as possible about food, taste buds, types of tomato sauce and cheeses, Italian dishes, etc.
    • write new children fiction novels: learn as much as you can about children books, children psychology, heroes and villains, etc.
    • build innovative homes: learn as much as possible about lighting, flooring, interior decorating, furnishing psychology, feng shui, etc.

    Whatever that can apply to what you'll innovate: Learn the sucka.

    The difference between crappy innovations and kick-ass innovations is this:
    • one is built on simply, "Hey, I think this will sell!"
    • one is built on in-depth, extensive, thorough knowledge and profound insights

    Guess who influences the marketing power for your innovation? The super-smart early adopters. Of course, learning is useless if you don't do something about it. It should serve as a foundation for what we coin smexperimentation ("smart experimentation"):
  2. Smexperiment as much as you can.

    Peep this fun game: You're put in a complex labyrinth (i.e. garden maze). You're given 20 minutes to get to the other side, or you die. Uh oh. What do you do? Your options:
    • Option A: Sit there and calibrate the air, estimate how fast you need to walk, measure the distance of your walking stride -- then write notes about what you will do upon entering the maze.

    • Option B: Go through the maze by experimenting with as many routes as possible, seeing each experiment as one step closer to getting out to the other side. That is, your badass uses dead-ends as, "Yay! Now, I know I shouldn't go through there anymore. By process of elimination, here's where I will go next" attitude.

    In the real world, an overwhelming majority of businesses employ Option A.

    Kick-ass businesses on the other hand know that the more experiments they can fill in a day, the closer they'll be to that juicy success.
  3. Be patient, but be persistent by embracing failure.

    Our main man Tommy Edison once said: "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." Because you'll fail more times than you'll succeed, you'll need to be one persistent mutha flukka. Edison needed 10,000 failures before he could make the electric light. To be persistent, see success as a numbers game. With each failure, you know you're one step closer to a success. That's one of the coolest mindsets we've adopted because it teaches us to embrace failure -- that is: Fail and fail a lot. As the Trizoko motto goes: The more times you fail, the more times you'll succeed.
The moral:

Learn, smexperiment, and persist like the badass you know you are.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

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Posted on October 13

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