The path of innovation is a brave new world. Are you on a path of innovating? New ideas, new products, new concepts? We have found on our journey of bringing an innovative idea to market there are some telltale signs that your idea is innovative. If you identify with these, then congratulations. The path can be challenging at times, but worth it!
1 People tell you “that will never happen”
A real tell tale sign that you are on the right path as an entrepreneur and innovator is that people tell you ‘that will never happen’. In the early days, I would take this comment on board and allow it to impact my belief. Then I realised this was a sign that actually you are on the right path. If people say it will never happen it is just a reflection of their own internal belief system. Not yours. They can not see what you can see and the fact they feel uncomfortable with your ideas means that it is challenging them internally. The fact that it is impacting them internally means there is some sort of fear or caution. Their way to deal with it is to verbalise an opinion based on their own belief system on something they can not see. If you are experiencing this with your idea, then do not allow it to dampen your idea. Use it. It is a sign you are innovating.
2 Not everyone gets it
This can feel frustrating at times. A big clue here is if you have those confident in marketing ideas telling you they don’t get it. The challenge is that if others don’t get it, then how can you convey your innovative idea. The point to recongise is that if you deal with people who don’t get it, they are more likely to shape your idea it into something they do get and make it average. To get you through this, then turn the word in your mind ‘frustrating’ into ‘fascinating’. See it as a fascinating study of what others do and don’t get about your idea. Take on board those who see your idea and want to expand on it. What made them see it? Work with their words to refine your pitch and become better at communicating. What words do they use? My experience is that you can end up trying to justify yourself to people who don’t get your idea when you could be spending time with people who can help move your ideas forward. If people are opinionated, then you are innovating.
3 Other innovative ideas appear that support your idea
When you start finding other technologies and innovations that support and move your idea forward, you know you are on a path of an innovative idea and you also know you are on a path that has legs.
4 You automatically see the masses behaving in a certain way
Once your brain has become wired to seeing how unconsciously most people avoid fear and the unknown, you wake up and see the world differently. Innovation is all about being OK with the unknown, recongising and channelling internal fear in a positive direction. Once you have this in check, you will soon start to see most people doing the same things that most people do, as they fear stepping away. If you see the world working in a certain way and it could be improved with your idea, then your idea is more than likely innovative.
5 You start to see seeds of your idea emerge in different places
This doesn’t necessarily mean copy cats, but if you see elements of your idea appearing in different places this indicates that there is a trend towards your idea and a market need has been identified. The fact that nothing is the same as your idea, means that your idea is innovative.
6 You identify with others who are treading new paths
Going through the pains and challenges of bringing an innovative idea to market naturally opens up conversations. If others are going through the same pains, they will immediately identify with what you are saying and experiencing. Even if you have never met, you could say exactly the same pain points about their journey of bringing an innovative idea to market and you will have experienced something very similar. These pain points are quite unique and specific as not everyone experiences them. Remember the pain points are a process. Don’t let them knock you off stride.
7 You feel like you don’t fit
If you feel like you don’t fit in then the chances are you are running with an innovative idea. Most people won’t get you and as you are so obsessed with the idea that’s probably all you want to talk about. Innovators can talk together forever as they will want to expand ideas, gain inspiration and seek connection. You won’t usually get this kind of stimulation from those who are not innovating and so having a feeling that you don’t fit in is quite natural.
8 The grass seed analogy
If you are comfortable with the idea that you have already made it because the vision is so clear in your mind and yet outside people can not see your creation, then the chances are you are innovating. Innovators understand the grass seed analogy. You sew seeds and some will grow and others won’t. With an innovative idea you may have a seed, a seedling, young plant or full blown tree. My experience is that innovators are ideas focused and are more concerned with the process of sewing more seeds, rather than concerning themselves with those that haven’t grown. Non-innovators see the trees. The innovators can connect and see the seeds, seedlings and want to help water other seeds too.
9 People are asking challenging questions
When you meet with people, they are asking you questions to help get to grips with your idea. This means they are internally challenged and so your idea is challenging their patterns and processes.
10 You feel humble
Most innovators I have met go through tremendous pains and challenges as their ideas are not always clear to those around them and they do not fit ‘the norm’. The journey of pushing forward, getting setbacks, dusting yourself down and getting up again can be very humbling. Whilst from the outside, innovators might be seen as ‘stubborn’ (it may appear from some that you are not taking their suggestions on board), the reality is that you are staying focused on your vision. If things feel very tough at times, then see you are breaking new ground with your innovative idea. Feeling humble and appreciating how difficult things can be is a sign that you are keeping pace with an innovative idea.
11 You are not competing in the same space
You are breaking new ground, taking a different path and not competing in the same space.
What is your experience of bringing innovative ideas to market?