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Innovate or Die!


I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Innovate or Die” at some point in your career.  It also seems to be very popular again.  Even Apple, a company many credit with being one of the most innovative in the last 35 years, needs to find that next big thing that will change the world–or at least add cash to its corporate coffers.  But, where do you find that next thing.  Is it a new product?  Is it a new service?  Is it a new way of doing business, such as moving away from buying CD’s to streaming music from a “cloud?”  Is it a new supplier?  Is the government adding regulations that are technology forcing?  Is it a new process that will cut the cost of converting raw materials to finished products?  Is it finding new customers in a related field? Actually, it is any and all of these.  This blog post is the start of a series of blogs, articles, presentations and more on innovation.  How do you determine what ideas are really innovative and how do you determine if it will succeed?  Would you ever begin selling a product without having built a prototype and tested it?  Would you ever fly in an airplane where the pilot had not had extensive training in a flight simulator?  Would you drive a car with the capability of parking itself if the engineers had not simulated everything to be sure that it could tell the difference between a motorcycle and a truck when backing up?  Yet, we often enter into a new business idea with just our gut.  What if?  What if you could test a business idea before taking 2-3 years of time, spending sometimes millions of dollars in the process?  It’s now possible and I’ll explain more in the near future.

Let me leave you with a thought and a link to a video.

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” Theodore Levitt

Can a 13-15 year old boy bored in his biology class and upset that an uncle died, find a simple, accurate, cost effective and quick test for prostate cancer?  You bet.  And it will take time and effort to go from that creative idea to a useful innovation.  It will take the Thomas Edison type effort of 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  Just as Edison proved there are 10,000 ways not to light a light bulb, Jack Andraka had to plug thousands of holes in his idea, before succeeding in his quest.

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