Don’t Reinvent the Wheel… Just Throw it Out

A couple of years ago, I attended a Singularity University conference in Palo Alto, California focused on the subject of artificial intelligence (AI), among many intriguing and interesting topics about exponential growth and change.  It was eye-opening and quite inspiring to see how far we’ve come in technology and the possibilities of where we are headed.  It caused me to reflect on the importance of innovation for not only technology but business in general.

The possibilities for new products and services, as well as how they are delivered are endless.  When you consider the items we use every day, and how we engage in common things like banking, shopping, schooling, healthcare, etc., it is so vastly different than what our reality was 10, 20, 30 years ago.

How interesting that we can’t live without some of the very things that 15 years ago we didn’t have or need.  Innovation will continue to exist, building on the resources we already have and inventing new concepts that don’t use existing resources at all.

In a recent Inc. article entitled, 4 Reasons Why You Need to Focus on Innovation, the author addresses this idea of creating something before consumers know they need it and the importance of working toward that kind of innovation.  “The right innovation will allow you to offer something unique to your customers. For instance, what if you managed to create a light bulb that automatically turned off when people left the room? That’s a crazy example, but that’s how some of the best innovations work. Top innovators take popular products and make them even better.”

When it comes to your business and its future – there is limitless potential.  What, really, can you put your mind to? What possibilities can you imagine? This isn’t about reinventing the wheel; it is about tossing the wheel out altogether and looking at new realities. Forget vulcanizing rubber to produce superior rubber tires—why not transport organic matter as quickly and easily as you make a phone call? Why not turn the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty” into reality?

Perhaps teleportation is not something your family business wants to take on. But no matter your industry or area of interest, to move forward means to look beyond convention and simply assess the raw materials, the raw question that you need to answer. To move forward on any question requiring innovation, we need to tap into that imagination, look at the situation’s most basic elements and consider the solution simply from that perspective and what really is possible.