5 Innovation Principles Every Entrepreneur Needs to Consider
There are as many different factors that drive entrepreneurs as there are entrepreneurs themselves.
Some want to leave a legacy. Some have an idea, product or service that they want to share. Others may simply want to strike it rich.
However, one unifying thread that ties all entrepreneurs together is their desire to change the world---or at least their part of it.
But changing the world requires innovation.
Here are some fundamental innovation principles to help anyone with a world-changing bend.
1. Don’t Expect Customers to Always Know What They Want.
The reality is that few people know what they really want, and those that think they know tend to want more of what they already have. They only want it faster, better and cheaper---but that’s not true innovation.
Henry Ford is famously credited with the quote, “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
The best entrepreneurs realize that successful innovation meets the needs that customers can’t effectively articulate or conceptualize on their own. Google search and the iPhone are prime examples of this principle.
2. Embrace Counter-intuitive Connections.
Some of the greatest innovations of the past 20 years have been the result of linking otherwise unrelated ideas.
Connections between portable phones with cameras; satellites and automotive mapping technology; online auctions with community ratings and reviews; or Uber’s online app linking a fleet of freelance drivers with prospective passengers are examples of innovative linkages that have disrupted entire industries.
Entrepreneurs don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes all they need to do is link two wheels to a motorized gyroscopic platform and call it a hover board --- presto, innovation!
3. Reframe the Current Market.
Great innovation bucks the status quo and recasts a new vision for the market.
The iTunes store, Pandora and Sirius XM satellite radio have completely altered the way that people purchase and enjoy music.
The simple idea behind Airbnb was to create a community where people could list, find and rent lodging --- an idea that has seismically shifted the landscape of hotel, leisure and travel altogether.
Amazon has upended the way the world shops. Without a single store front, it supplanted Wal-Mart as the largest retailer in the world in 2015.
Each of these examples of market reframing reinforces the point that the status quo isn’t necessarily the best way to go.
4. Eighty Percent Ready and Shipped is Better than Perfect on Paper.
This principle is embodied in the famous quote by bestselling business author, Guy Kawaski who says, “Don’t worry, be crappy.”
Not only is that one of the most memorable business quotes ever because of its clever play on words of the infectious Bobby McFerrin song, but it also holds a powerful truth for entrepreneurs.
Innovators must strive to get their product out the door, rather than striving for perfection. That requires an iterative process of designing, shipping and testing --- then repeating that process.
Basically if you wait until an innovative product is perfect, it will never be ready to ship to customers.
5. Agile Adaptation.
Many in the business world tend to think that it’s the fast who survive, but that’s simply not true.
Actually, it’s the organizations and individuals that agilely adapt to internal and external conditions that survive and thrive. Entrepreneurs with the ability to pivot on-the-fly have a distinct advantage over their competitors when it comes to innovation.
While these are just a few of the innovation principles that need to be considered by would-be-world changers, these concepts are collectively important enough that entrepreneurs can’t afford to ignore any of them.
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