I’ve been able to succeed because I’ve generated a system that guides me past the obvious ideas and straight toward the killer idea. I also have the confidence to push for my ideas and make sure they get a chance to prove themselves.
So, if you find yourself with a killer idea, but are lacking the will or the ability to push it through, be aware that the weakest link in the chain isn’t your idea, but your belief in yourself. Start small and build up. Present an idea that’s modest in ambition, and get used to the feeling of putting yourself in the spotlight and having to push for your ideas. When that works, come back with a bigger idea, and so on. Remember that confidence can be learned. If you don’t have it now, give yourself the chance to gain it with small victories.
As I’ve mentioned throughout this book, innovation is a skill that anybody can learn. But it’s also like playing a sport: If you want to play golf and you want to get really good at it, then you’ve got to go out and practice. You have to go to the driving range. You have to hit balls.
So, what happens if you have a few misfires? Keep trying; don’t let early mistakes scare you out of making another attempt. Remember, you can have a great idea that doesn’t work because of poor timing. However, you need to have the fortitude to keep going, even after working on something that doesn’t come to fruition. One thing I’ve noticed from my dealings with businesses and entrepreneurs around the world is how we can benefit from refusing to associate any stigma to ideas that previously didn’t pan out. Within forward-looking organizations an idea can miss the mark and still get another chance.
Right now Silicon Valley is in the middle of a hiring boom. Google, Facebook, Twitter, and a great number of other companies are searching for the best talent to fuel their growth. Venture capitalists are taking risks and investing with energetic start-ups that have a killer idea. It’s as though the setbacks of the late ’90s and late 2000s had never happened. And that’s a fantastic thing. You always get a second chance in the changing landscape of ideas, no matter how badly you may have failed in the past.
If you’ve read this book and it hasn’t changed you, then I’ve failed in writing it. Beyond the Obvious is about changing how people view themselves, and what they’re capable of. It’s about giving them the confidence to ignore the path everyone else is on and think differently about their own ability to be innovative.
It is still disheartening and rather amazing to think that so many people believe that this “creative ability” is reserved for a subset of people within their organization. “Oh I’m just the receptionist,” one might say. Well, suppose that receptionist comes up with a seemingly simple way to streamline some routine office procedure, such as filing expense reports? Over a few years that could have a huge effect on the organization. And if you think that there’s no one out there supporting you or believing in you, then you’re mistaken. Just by virtue of the fact that you are buying and using this book, I am invested in your work. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how you’re doing.
It doesn’t matter what your role is. It doesn’t matter what your education level is. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world. The purpose of this book is for you to take your ideas and apply them to whatever it is that you’re passionate about, perhaps within your business, the nonprofit you volunteer at, or your personal career. You can make change happen, and you can generate the killer idea that spark revolutions in how we do things, be it on a personal level or a global one.
Now is the time to put down the book, open the door, and go forth and innovate.