Ever wish you could travel the world discovering better ways of doing things? The next best thing – read the book. Author Mark Stevenson is an innovation explorer. He’s visited remote parts and populous cities worldwide. This ‘reluctant futurist’ searches for people whose innovations are making a positive impact. In the process, he’s discovering the roadmap to a better future. His book, We Do Things Differently: The Outsiders Rebooting Our World imparts the stories of those paving the way.
The rapid pace of change in today’s world leaves many behind. Advances in technology can create a wake of unintended consequences. Mark isn’t here to paint a doomsday picture, but to illuminate the roadmap to a better future. His book tells the story of innovators, inventors and creatives who are making major impacts on communities.
Technology has often led to job losses as new processes replace old ways. It is a certain fact read out in headlines throughout history. Loss of jobs due to tech advances is a transition from an old economy to a new one. A better future demands that education, government, and other systems swiftly adapt to these changes. While some countries such as Estonia address this need, many do not. The catalyst for his book is those who have successfully affected systemic changes. They are the ones plotting the roadmap to a better future.
Mark lays out the good, the bad, and the ugly. The next twenty years are critical in developing the roadmap to a better future. Major changes are necessary in our systems of education, government, healthcare, and businesses.
✓ Bad news first: everything’s broken.
✓ Good news: it’s fixable.
✓ It’s going to get ugly.
Mark wants to “make the transition less messy for less people and make it a little bit shorter.”
A systemic approach to tech advances is essential for a better future. Mark dislikes the moniker “futurist”. The term suggests one who sees technology as the answer to all problems. For Mark, technology is the question. Technology development should not be done in isolation. People must evaluate factors beyond the technology itself. Policy makers and innovators alike have to step back and look at the big picture. What are the far-reaching, future results of the technology? How will it affect society? Developing the correct measure for success is just as important as developing the innovation.
In the quest for discovering systemic changes that work, Mark has found common threads:
- They come from the bottom up – grassroots people who make a change to fix what’s broken.
- The catalyst is a new technology or way of thinking.
- In the service of a different social contract – decisions and choices for reasons other than money.
- The catalyst is outside the system
- The actors have herculean levels of perseverance and powerful motivation.
How do you design a product the customer will prefer or crave over the competition?
Five Minutes to New Ideas
You need to determine ► how your business environments are evolving. ► how your customers are changing. ► what you need to modify to keep the product relevant and desirable.
Go beyond the competition. Look at industries that are distinctly different but share similar key elements with your business. By asking the right questions and looking at non-obvious businesses, you may find that one inspiration that can transform you and your ideas.
- If you have comments or suggestions, drop me a note.
- Read about my experiences in the innovation game at PhilMckinney.com.
- You can also find out information about my book, Beyond the Obvious, at beyondtheobvious.com. Get a copy through Amazon or wherever you get your books.
- Pay it forward. When I wanted to repay my mentor for his investment in my career, he told me to pay it forward. Help me pay it forward. Rate the show where you get your podcast. Help spread the word. Tell others about the show.
- Be part of the conversation between the shows. I hang out at The Innovators Community on Slack. This private community of vetted innovators helps each other succeed.
The Killer Innovations podcast is produced by The Innovators Network.