“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.” Theodore Levitt
I saw this quote last night. It is the summation of this article. As a matter of fact, if you can put this quote into action then there’s really no need to continue reading. But it’s hard; isn’t it? It’s hard to take an idea and step out and do it. I believe what holds most people back is fear. Fear of failing, fear of the unknown, fear of being successful even and then following through. But before we can get to the doing, there really is that first step of creating. Let’s get there together. Really this website that I am working on is a product of this quote, so yes, we are in it together. So, where do we start?
Creativity is Thinking
I am not creative. When I share that with my friends they often giggle because it could appear I am. Nope, not at all! But, do you have to be creative to be creative? Not necessarily in business, at least that’s not what has helped me. I’m a thinker. I think too much actually and often have to take my thoughts captive to focus on the task at hand. The quote begins with thinking. So, are you creative? If so, you probably have an advantage already. If not, no worries, write out your thoughts. Most of us think. Write it all out. This may seem trivial or simple but to get it out of the head is really one step closer to doing it.
Once you’ve thought about it and written it out, do some research. When I started Trill Fitness for the purpose of producing a CD, I searched on the Internet to see if I could find a Christian aerobic CD. I found one or two videos. I knew I was on to something. Then, when I decided to try online consulting I searched to see what I could find. There were plenty of online services. Why would I do another? What I couldn’t find was one that offered the service along with a registered dietitian and access to real people (not a computerized program). Then it was time for the fitness studio. In my town, there wasn’t anyone doing what I was about to do. I wanted to offer specialized programs (Les Mills programs which I’ll tell you about soon), in a small intimate setting and all group fitness classes and TRX® Suspension Training private lessons. So, what?
I share all of this to say, I did my research. I looked at what was out there. Was my idea new? Was it unique enough that even if it weren’t new it would stand out? Remember, my studio closed. But if you also remember, it wasn’t for lack of creativity. It was financial, an immediate need to help my family. Sometimes our “new thing” is all about timing. Do you hold on to it or do you take a step of faith and do it? I believe (this is my own theory and neither scientific nor researched) that most people only think of an idea. For many even the fact that I gave you an out is comforting. “Oh good, it’s just not the best timing,” or you may have thought, “To start something new you really ought to be at a place financially to sustain it.” Possibly, but may I submit to you that these could potentially be good excuses never to start? Hey- there’s no commitment in writing it down and researching. You haven’t signed any dotted line. But, maybe you should.
Innovation is Doing
Webster’s Dictionary defines innovation as the “introduction of something new”. Wikipedia’s author wrote that the root mean to “renew or change”. In order to introduce, renew or change anything you must do. Dr. Levitt (a professor at Harvard) was correct, now the question is; are you going to be innovative?
You’ve got your idea in your head; you’ve been thinking about it and have written it down. You are doing the research to see if it truly is creative. You’ve discovered that it is or that it’s new enough for your circle or town. Now you are at a cross roads, do you act or do you continue on as if you never had the idea, or do you wait until you see your idea on television being advertised by John Doe? I hate it when people steal my ideas and run with them! You know, Microsoft was my idea and so was the Iphone! Will that be you? I think about the wheelchair. I thank God for whoever (it’s unclear and unknown) invented the wheelchair and for engineers like Harry Jennings who expanded on the ideas of the first inventors.
This could very well be you! I’m not trying to get you to do anything foolish. So, yes, doing your due diligence in researching and building a business plan (if it’s to start a business) is wise. But let’s be honest, most of us never quite get to that part. Most of us allow fear to hold us back from even starting. So, today I encourage you to start! Not to be simply creative but to be innovative! And, could you do me one favor, if you do start and it is successful would you let me know. Hey, and if you do start and it is unsuccessful in the world’s eye’s may I encourage you that it was successful, because you overcame fear or complacency and you became a doer! I’d still like to know.