Innovate for the Inevitability

I don’t consider myself a futurist, however I do enjoy thinking, learning, and discovering about new possibilities that will fundamentally change the fabric of society and our day to day lives. Elon Musk famously talked about “Accelerating the Inevitable” as a reason he set-out to create Tesla and SpaceX. For Musk, he believed Electric Vehicles (EV) were as inevitable as is a manned mission to Mars. His motivation wasn’t to create a company that generates huge profits for shareholders, but rather to accelerate what he believed would happen at some point in the future. Both Tesla and SpaceX have pushed new boundaries in innovation and have fundamentally accelerated the Inevitability of EV’s and space travel to Mars and beyond. Whether Tesla and/or SpaceX become market leaders in these categories is yet to be determined, but what Elon Musk and other mavericks like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos has been able to achieve has and will accelerate their vision of inevitability in how they view the future we will experience and live.

If you think about the future and what will be inevitable, you can quickly see how industries will be disrupted, how new types of companies/innovations will be needed, how our society and daily lives as we know them will be effected (positively and negatively) and the types of products and services that could deliver new types of value to fill these voids.

For example, it’s inevitable that we will have automated EV’s in 10 years or less, and within 20 years it’s likely our cultural norm will be to travel in automated EV’s exclusively. So what could this effect and what are other inevitabilities? Continue reading

Innovation is discovering the unknown when you’re looking for it.

Engauge’s DIG group asked a few of us to define “Innovation” on the fly. I came up with “Innovation is discovering the unknown when you’re looking for it”. The beer in my hand may have helped, but I think there is something to be said about “discovering the unknown when your looking for it“.

Everyone works differently of course, but based on how I work best, here are 5 tips to help you uncover what you’re looking for.

  1. Sitting in the same room for 10 hours straight will only water down your ideas and spin you in loops. So, start by changing up your physical environment when developing concepts and ideas. A 30 minute walk outside, or going to a new coffee shop for an hour can help keep you sharp and focused.
  2. Write down the problems, gaps, opportunities of anything that comes into mind. It doesn’t have to be related to the area your focusing on and don’t try to solve anything yet. Revisiting this list will help you uncover new ways of looking at the original problem or help you find common patterns with other problems that might spurn a new innovation.
  3. Look to nature as inspiration for possible solutions. Mother nature is the King-Kong of innovation; she’s been able to continually adapt and innovate over millions of years and continues to today. We have access to information that tells this story and see what was changed and why. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find when you look at it from mother nature’s lens. Here is a somewhat related example from TED speaker Michael Pawlyn.
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