“Are you an Innovaton Evangelist?” by Leigh Down
I’ve recently found this article thought it would be great to share it here:
“I think the word “innovation” is grossly over used these days. I know people who are enthusiastic, committed and passionate but that doesn’t necessarily = innovative.
Recently, Wired’s Mark McClusky wrote a piece about the former CTO of Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold. I loved this article. Myhrvold left Microsoft and founded his own company, Intellectual Ventures, with a focus on solving some of today’s biggest science and technology problems. The company’s business is to make money from ideas, not the products created from the ideas, and thus create a market for intellectual property. The beauty of this article is the insight into the mind of a true innovator, and points out how an innovator’s mind works completely differently than most.
For instance, Myhrvold didn’t think it would be weird to publish a six volume, 2,400 page cookbook with 1,600 recipes, weighs 50 pounds and costs $625. Every foodie will run right out and buy that right? Why would a technology guy put his company focus on that project? Simple. He loves to cook and realized there was no comprehensive encyclopedia of food science and technology. His book incorporates principles of math, physics and chemistry applied to cooking as well as applications of photography, history and computing modeling.
Like most incredible innovators, he is able to connect science + art + engineering + design to deliver something uniquely unique. Wired declares him to be in the pursuit of ideas with “magnificent obsession”. I love that phrase – magnificent obsession. Have you ever pursued anything with such diligence and tenacity? Try it, it feels great and you just may surprise yourself at what your team can accomplish.
Unfortunately, most IT departments don’t innovate. They adopt or lag due to cost and risk aversion. It is unfortunate because often taking a technology risk can allow you to leapfrog your competition rather than baby step to mediocrity. Think you are an innovator? Ask yourself these questions:
Do you work from the gut? Do you work intuitively?
Do you surround yourself with people who press on your ideas?
Do you literally dream about ideas?
Can you create a vision as well as an experience?
Do you keep close tabs on the cutting edge of technology?
Do you crave the products you evangelize?
Can you sell the business case for the product?
Do you rigorously negotiate for support of your idea?
Can you capitalize on opportunity?
Are you persistent, charismatic, consistent with your message?
Do you remain open to all potential sources of ideas inside or outside the company?
Do you give every idea that can improve the product consideration?
Do you enjoy challenging people’s existing order? Do you like disruption?
True innovators are often people who are inquisitive about multiple practices, often renaissance people. Most technology people are adopters not innovators. Are you an innovation evangelist or an adopter? Which is your company?
P.S. I bet you thought this post was going to be about Steve Jobs”
By: Leigh Down,