Think for a sec. I’m going to say a word: inventor. Who comes to mind?
Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs? Maybe it’s MLK, Alexander the Great, or the Wright Brothers. Personally, I think of Mr. Pickles on the Rugrats. Either way, the pool is clearly a varied one. Innovation is sort of like an exploding bullet going off a billion directions. Its masters all have the obvious things in common – usually, a magical formula of brains and persistence – but you can throw a dose of invention into anything. I mean, I was feeling pretty good about myself last night after inventing a grapefruit-soda-champagne cocktail. Pretty groundbreaking.
We’re all suckers for novelty. Be it a pioneer of social change or the genius who invented the Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie, it’s good to keep such people around. More importantly, it’s good to be one. (If you happen to make avant-garde baked goods though, swing by WORK, will you?)
But I’m not Einstein, and neither are you. It can be hard to think fresh knowing that. It can be hard knowing how many people are trying to do the same thing as you. Of course, modern innovation makes this more pronounced – you can get drowned in the sheer volume of us just by glancing at your phone.
Don’t do that. Take a few steps closer, and really look at all our options. Aisles and aisles of colorfully packaged corn varieties. Hundreds of shampoos. A growing number of everything, each appreciated for its own something. We might not really be special snowflakes, but we seem to think we are.
And that’s exactly why we need more innovators.