I keep hearing that innovation is the path back to prosperity and employment. “You can’t save your way to growth,” it seems. But everyone seems to be trying to do just that. Funding for basic research, education and infrastructure is cut by government. Big firms depend, more and more on buying innovation from startups as a means of managing risk. Investment in the future is being redefined as imprudent, even reckless.
Can innovation survive austerity?
In some ways, it will. Many powerful ideas have momentum that even bureaucracies can’t stop. Big companies, major universities and governments will bring these to fruition despite themselves. And we still have creative, imaginative people who cannot be held down. Though starved for resources, they will take their ideas and find ways to make them real.
But our society’s potential for innovation goes beyond those whose recognized talent and connections place them in leading edge labs. And it goes beyond those who have the drive and the luck to work outside the system. We have skilled, inspired and inventive people trapped in big organizations that crush ideas and their spirits. We need their genius if we are to revive economies across the globe. We need to save innovation by making it possible against a headwind of tightening budgets and risk aversion.
Over the next several blogs, I will explore what trapped innovators can do to free themselves:
- “You are the resource” will provide advice on how to become as creative as you can be. What can you do everyday to expand your practical imagination?
- “Incredible credible” will look at how to put enough “oh wow’s” into your portfolio to be recognized as an innovator – and thus get more access to talent, and possibly resources.
- Within this context, I will revisit subject I covered in an earlier post, networking.
“Pitching innovation” will include models for taking innovative ideas and netting them out in inspiring language. This can, of course, provide “elevator pitches” to sell ideas to bigwigs, but there is a more important use. A good pitch can be used by innovators to hold onto the essence of a world-changing concept in the face all those who work to degrade or dismiss it.
Finally, “standing frugal innovation on its head” will provide some thoughts on how the frugal mindset can be used to innovate without resources.
I hope this will provide some fun and practical advice over the next few months. And I welcome any ideas, experiences or opinions you might have to enrich these blogs.