Photo by Pablo Contreras.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.
We cannot continue to do the same thing every day and hope to remain competitive. In business as well as in life, change is not a choice, it’s a must. The options are very clear: innovate or die!
If there’s one aspect of business that can help you keep up with change as an entrepreneur, it is creativity.
Being in business is all about meeting the needs and solving the problems of a particular set of people. These people are known as your customers.
They have needs that arise as a result of certain problems they have, and are in search of products/services that will solve their problems. These needs are always changing with time.
Success goes to the entrepreneurs who not only keep up with these changes, but also create products/services that anticipate evolving needs and desires.
An entrepreneur is only able to achieve this through an unwavering dedication to creativity.
What Does It Mean to Create?
To create means to come up with something new [unique] which also has the capacity to positively affect lives [useful].
Creativity is the essence of entrepreneurship. Products/services don’t fall from the sky like manna, they are created. And the one person that must bear the burden to create is none other than you, the entrepreneur.
As Michael E. Gerber, rightly puts it:
The entrepreneur takes shape through the act of invention. If there is no invention there is no entrepreneur. If there is no entrepreneur there is no invention. The two are inextricably bound. The substance of the entrepreneur, her worth as an entrepreneur, is determined by the substance of her invention.
So, your task as an entrepreneur is to engage in a never-ending process of creation by forming a creative habit. It is only through the habit of creating that the entrepreneur masters the art of creation.
Creation (making new and better things) must never be confused for execution (getting things done). Your work as an entrepreneur is not about execution but about creation; seeking to do what never existed before and not just seeking to get things done.
How Do You Create?
Practice creation. Form the habit of coming up with something out of nothing. Become like a child again: play!
You find the power to create something through the practice of that thing.
You create a book by forming the habit of reading a book and practicing writing.
You create music by forming the habit of listening to music and practicing playing music.
The power to create doesn’t come from practice, it comes from you.
Then why practice?
Practice is your signal to the universe that you’re ready to create.
Practice says to the universe: “I’m prepared; make me an instrument for creation!”
How do you know the universe will answer?
Form the habit and commit to the practice first, keep doing it over and over, only then will you know.
You will know only when you’re not afraid to begin. You will only begin to know only after you begin to act!
The Critical Difference Between Invention and Innovation
You must be careful ensure that you are creating something that will someday be needed. This can be somewhat hard to tell from the beginning because an idea is never fully matured, it keeps unfolding with every additional step you take to make it a reality. This is the difference between invention and innovation.
An idea that is unique is an invention, but an idea that is both unique and useful is an innovation. This is a crucial fact that must never elude you as you strive to deliver change. Efforts must be made towards integrating usefulness into every unique idea.
A good way to do this is to form the habit of asking yourself this question:
How is this idea going to make the world a better place for someone?
By constantly questioning the idea, this keeps you in the creative process long enough for the idea to reveal its intrinsic usefulness – potential value of invention.
So no matter how unique [new] an idea may be, keep in mind that unless its time has come, its usefulness [potential value] may be no more than the lesson, knowledge and experience you gained from undergoing the creative process.
This shouldn’t stop you from pursuing another idea just because one or two or more didn’t work out; rather, this should propel you to continue because with every failed idea created through you, the closer you get to creating the one that will work.
Google for instance, has launched several products – such as Knol, a collection of user-generated articles, and Google Wave, a collaboration platform – that weren’t as successful as their smash hits like the search engine and Gmail.
It’s not the number of ideas that didn’t work that counts, but the habit of consistently creating unique ideas. As an entrepreneur, your task is to create ideas – whether they work or not is left to the market to decide.
The real failure is not an idea that didn’t work, but rather not coming up with any ideas at all. The only way to test if an idea has intrinsic usefulness is by creating it. You cannot know the eventual outcome of an idea until you commit and complete the process of creating the idea. That uncertainty will always be present.
This is the joy of the entrepreneurial mindset: not knowing completely how it will turn out. That’s why it’s called magic; the joy of discovery!
Over to You
How do you create?
Have you ever created something unique that didn’t turn out as useful as you had imagined?
How has your creative ability helped to sustain your business?
About the Author: Tito Philips, Jnr. is the unusual CEO of MADphilips who blogs about business and entrepreneurship on Naijapreneur! He’s currently recruiting an army of change-agents at UniteNigeria to help in the rebuilding of his motherland. Connect with him on Twitter @MADphilips.