Most people don’t realize that innovation is everywhere. From the 10 year old at school finding a way to finish that history report, while at the same time going out to play with his friends, to the franchise store manager that needs to constantly adjust the company’s guidelines and strategy to its local market.
However, an idea, a process or simply a thought will usually call your attention more than the next. Here are the 4 key aspects of an innovative idea that usually catch my eye.
Of course, something innovative has to be original, but don’t think for a second that an innovation is the same as an invention. Most of the time, innovation is not about creating something new, but about taking something old and making it better and this is what makes it original. These houses , by the D*Haus Company, placed on circular rails have the ability to change shape and orientation according to the weather. Put Transformers, bioclimatic architecture, and sundials in a blender, and you get the ultimate portable home.
While original, the D*Haus is way too complex to be easily adopted. When I think innovation, I’m a big fan of simplicity. If I had to think of a good example, that would be Facebook’s “Like” button. Introduced in 2009, it was not a huge advance in terms of technology or anything really, yet it boosted Facebook like a rocket and was quickly adopted by other social media sites like Linkedin, and countless blogs. In essence, is not different than rating an article with 0 to 5 stars, but it takes the most simple approach possible: the binary. I either like it, or ignore it. Lots of people have been waiting for the “Don’t like” button (this website alone has over 2 million likes), yet Mark Zukerberg and his team have ignored these pledges so far.
Though Facebook does have a collaborative nature, I really had to think of another example for this concept, and a perfect one is The Pay It Forward Foundation. Inspired by the 2000 novel (followed by the Warner Brothers film) with the same name, the PIF foundation gathers thousands who share the same fundamental principle: “One act of kindness can change everything”…if you and others pay it forward of course.
Simple systems theory explains how a closed system can only be sustainable if all the energy used by the system can be recycled, which is rarely the case in real life. It is easy to fall in the trap of enlarging the system just a little bit to allow for a new energy source to become involved. This, however, brings other consequences and forces you to again enlarge the system on and on, till you realize that everything is connected to some level. For this reason, I believe that any good idea that’s worth sharing, has to be sustainable in nature, down to its very core. I’m looking for perfection, you might think, but that’s why I left this item for last. Combine all the others in a sustainable way, and you get a system that will self-adapt, reorganize, and ultimately reinvent itself.
When you combine all four of these, you get an explosion of knowledge that gathers, combines, replicates and reinvents by itself. An original idea is attractive to the curious mind, which can become part of it if it is simple and can evolve only if it is collaborative and sustainable.
Can you help me find an example that combines all 4?
CCO & Co-founder
Blue Power Projects