I was sitting on the couch, having my personal lazy day today. It consisted of staring out of the window, watching the rain fall, and drinking several hot cups of Earl Grey. At first I was thinking about the cycle of precipitation, then I thought about the creation of that cycle, and then I started thinking of life-changing inventions, and how I can invent something myself – something innovative. Following that train of thought, I pondered, what is innovation? I looked it up in the dictionary on my MacBook, and the definition of the word innovation is, “a new method, idea, product, etc.“
The instauration of an innovative idea requires a fundamental change of an existing system. Either that, or the invention of an entirely new system. Dear entrepreneurs, that’s the essence of revolutionary origination, of how something new comes into existence. Sir Ken Robinson, a British author, once stated that, “innovation means challenging what we take for granted.” What do we take for granted? Well, there are quite a few things we take for granted, especially in the Western world. “It is difficult to detect the things we take for granted, because we take them for granted,” according to Sir Robinson. Well said, sir. Well said. (I used the word “granted” way too many times just then, didn’t I.)
Of course, everybody wants change, because everybody knows that this world is characterised by trial and error. Thus, this world has many erroneous systems. Unfortunately, most people only want to “reform” something that, in their opinion, requires some kind of modification. Now, that’s a good start. Customised instead of standardised schooling, solar panels and electrical motors, real health diets, and thunderbolt connections are all results of the reformation of existing systems, thanks to those who see the need for optimisation.
Now, when someone proposes an idea that sounds amazing and would stimulate a lasting and wide-reaching change in the way a system functions, in other words, something revolutionary (as opposed to reformatory), their idea is usually turned down by those who operate the reformed, yet still traditional systems. Why? Because of their restricted common sense. They fully understand their system, but the way they perceive change is limited, because their common sense tells them “that’s just the way things are.”
We are locked in tradition. That’s why almost every person who is older than 25 years wears a wrist watch, which is a single-function device. At first, watches were created to tell the time. Then, watchmakers had a reformatory epiphany and decided to integrate a mechanical upgrade which would serve to tell the date as well. Isn’t it fantastic? Not only do we have the time on our wrist, but in addition, we have the date as well. In today’s technological age, we’ve added many more convenient as well as inessential gadgets to our wrist watches. We’ve come a long way with watches ever since 1510. But why are we still wearing them on our wrists? We have smart phones that do the job better than watches. We don’t need watches, but we still wear them because we’re locked in tradition.
I know an inventor who has discovered a new way of storing and transmitting energy. He invented a device that enables you to run any kind of hardware that requires a source of energy to function without ever having to recharge it or replace its battery. The form of energy that he discovered is more efficient than solar energy, and doesn’t discharge any kind of harmful emissions. The device is about as big as a shoebox, and it provides energy for over 100 years without interruption because of the smooth, constant flow of energy provided by supernovas in the universe. He tried to sell that revolutionary product, but the energy industry wouldn’t let him because that device would diminish the industry’s income. Solar panels, electrical motors, wind and water energy, and oil won’t be of demand anymore, and because of that, the inventor could not sell his innovative, revolutionary device.
We like innovative change as long as it keeps existing systems, such as the current economy, alive. If an innovative idea puts an old system out of function and purpose, we are very reluctant to even review the effect it would have on society and its future. We need to be more accepting of truly innovative ideas, such as the inventor’s supernova-energy device, and willing to at least render modification for a certain period of time. How else will we improve exponentially? We already have the ideas, we just don’t have the supporters and passionate zealots who are willing to bring those innovative ideas into existence.