Last week I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience at the Society of Innovators Leader Luncheon where a number of innovative community leaders from government, industry, education, business, nonprofits, and science spoke.
Their subject was their view of the future (specifically 2024) and the need for increased support for the innovative process if our region is to become more competitive in an increasingly global economy.
It is clear that every business and institution, not only here but worldwide, needs to transform in order to be able to compete and be relevant to its market no matter whether the markets served are local, regional or global. It is either innovate or die.
The commercial world is littered with the decaying bones of companies and institutions that didn’t get this message – what ever happened to once proud and profitable household names like Kodak, Montgomery Ward, Compaq, A & P, and countless others? They stopped being relevant to their markets.
Markets are changing so rapidly that if we don’t innovate or can’t innovate or decide not to innovate, our customers will quickly move to other vendors who will be happy to satisfy their needs for the outcomes of innovation. Those desired outcomes can be defined simply as “better, faster and cheaper.”
Members of the Society are at the forefront of this movement to constant, innovative change, but we are also challenged daily to maintain our current affairs yet position ourselves for the future.
We also know that innovation doesn’t just happen. It is a process that sometimes starts from a stated need, or an inkling of a thought that tickles a question that starts, “I wonder what would happen if … ?”
Once that thought starts bouncing around in your imaginationm start creating “perfect world” outcomes. The next question should be, “I wonder whether this will work” or “how can I make this work?”
From there ask, “What needs to be done in order to make it work?” And then you are on the fast track to innovation, then relevance, then a vital, creative future.