Tuesday, September 18, 2012

7nnovation Who?

I invite you to go on Amazon and search for innovation books. I got 60,916 results.
Probably you'd get even more.
There are thousands and thousands of books (sites and people) solely dedicated to help those diligent and brave embark in this groundbreaking career. Being an entrepreneur apparently is no easy task. They are often bullied, make fun of, despised, and all that ugly stuff, until they do something really amazing. Who would go through all these trouble when there are companies already hiring for a boring, but reliable job? It is tricky to be in this field, but how rewarding is it when people like your idea, when you see an idea grow as it did inside your head; how magnificent would it be to do something.

For those interested, here are some ideas to start you up.

I believe, nobody can say with precision the sources for ideas like the iPod, the bulb, the printer. Nobody can say with exactitude who's the muse or where the magic wand is hiding, but hey, at least there are 60,916 attempts to explain it.

As I am not a literate, an expert, as I am not even an entrepreneur (yet), I can't give you fancy explications or original and exhaustive examples about the 7 principles that would guide you in this creative process, but I can tell you, however, about my class.
I am in an entrepreneurship class where me and my classmates, last week, had to present our best and most interesting idea for a business. Self conscious, but anxious, each of us opened our brain's right side for the public.  And, if I remember correctly, all the 7 innovation sources (or most of them, at least) can be exemplified by the ideas my classmates had.

1. One of my friends described how uncomfortable it is to study when you are dying in a 80degree room environment. And who can? He then thought about this idea of a chair with inside tubbing that would provide cool air/touch to whoever is sitting in it. Conflicts between opposing forces, like studying and hot weather for example, may be the perfect setting for something new to take place. Thanks to incongruity, innovative problem-solvers come to light.

2. There are times in which we need things that don't exist. Call it a foolish dream, childish imagination. Someone once thought of creating some device to easily transport water, and the water bottle was invented. Someone once realized men change their minds all the time, and so the delete button was invented. One of my classmates realized we need photo chromatic car windows. You know, for when the sun is in your eyes and you're driving in the highway. The shade in the windows would directly depend on how much sunlight the car is being expose to. Splendid idea, Dan! Necessity is the mother of innovation. We needed a cure for malaria, we needed a way to go and come from work, we needed to keep our food refrigerated. Need and creativity are inseparable.

3. Sometimes certain situations give you the chance to innovate. Sometimes even certain innovations allow you to innovate even further. For example, the Internet, and its almost infinite opportunities for businesses, allowed my friend to engineer an idea to create an online clothing-fair-trade chain. In another words, through her website, you could appreciate clothes from all around the world, buy them online, and at the same time help the fabricators earn a bigger piece of the money cake. The internet's  market, structure and its constant changes make plausible a chain of this type to exist.

4.  Finding a pattern in societies and in people's behavior is not easy thing, but if you do find it, please don't let it go! My good friend Michael (Hi) thought about how many people miss the green light while driving, because they are too busy texting and trying not to get caught. Thanks to demographics, he came up with the idea of a small device that will alert the driver the light has changed and save him or her the pleasure of the horns and the grumpiness of those behind.

5. Michael's idea also applies to another source: the unexpected one. He presented us his idea solely with the "text and driving" card in mind. The class, however, saw some potential he didn't thought of before: the device would also be of great help to mothers taking care of their babies in the backseats. They aren't usually very attentive to the change in the lights if their kid is crying or looking for a fallen toy. Michael unexpectedly found another market to sell his little device.

6. As the person who invented the delete button, my classmate realized too that perceptions change. Some years before the microwave was invented, people saw the immediate necessity to be able to heat food fast. Nobody wants to wait for the water to boil, right? And so, almost every American family bought a microwave, excited by the idea of not having to wait any longer. Today, a different kind of waiting-for-food perception takes place. Why should we wait for things to heat down? If I want a coca-cola with no ice, and I want it now, why should I wait for it to cool down. Zoha came up with the idea of a new type of microwave: one that freezes food or beverages, instead of heating them up.

7. New knowledge is another way to innovate. We've recently discovered a way to fuel cars without gas. We've created a green technology based on the idea of consuming without hurting our pretty earth. But, why only cars? And not something more ambitious, like, let's say, public transportation? My classmate highlighted how public transportation  is necessary for urban cities, but sadly not very profitable. Buses must be cheap and efficient, all in one. That's why they so are expensive to maintain. Buses fueled by green energy, like solar energy, my classmate continues, would not only be awesome for the environment, but the maintenance costs would be minimal: sunlight is free. New knowledge allows innovators to think a little bit further and solve even bigger problems.

Basically, all it takes for an idea to hit us in the face, is to keep our eyes wide open and be really attentive to change. Ideas and innovation require you to be aware of your surroundings.

Good luck innovators.


  1. Great post! I really like how you tied examples from the class into the 7 Sources. And it's totally true that the class opened my eyes up to a whole new market. I actually hope the rest of our class gets to read this to see how they were featured!


  2. Brilliant post! That's what I love to see...examples that come from your daily life (and in this case, the whole class's).