This week’s show is a little different than usual. I will be discussing some of my thoughts on innovation, mainly on what’s going on, the current events. I will also be responding to some fan feedback.
One thing that has recently piqued my interest was the SpaceX Dragon demo launch. I was glued to the NASA stream and was quite impressed. The stream offered a great look at the inside of the rocket, and I got to watch the rocket launch into space. As a kid, I watched Apollo’s launch and Neil Armstrong taking steps on the moon, which excited me. I am a big believer in space due to the history of the U.S space program. It is an excellent catalyst for innovation.
I believe all governments have a role in encouraging innovation. Technology, such as a sensor to monitor blood or oxygen levels, is just one of many creations that came from NASA. An innovative friend of mine, Gretchen McClain (former AD for NASA ISS), started a public-private partnership where the U.S paid others to build capabilities. The Russians built the U.S module that is part of ISS. I had the distinct privilege to be Gretchen’s guest at NASA to see the U.S module go up to be part of the ISS. Gretchen realized that to explore space better, it was essential to co-innovate. We are seeing more and more of this being done by our government today. The key is to define a problem in such a way that people feel like they can solve it.
The Future of Businesses
Over the weekend, a friend sent me an article due to my interest in “megatrends” over the years. It was from the Charter Tribune by Chris Jones. The article was looking at the impact of COVID-19 on cities and asked whether they would recover. My friends asked me what I thought about all of this based on my megatrends research. My research always focuses on 10-20 years out and is constantly changing. No one can predict anything too accurately, but it is more about laying out the range of possible futures to be better prepared.
In the case of COVID, schools were out, businesses went to working from home, etc. Luckily, 80% of U.S homes have access to broadband services at home and have tools like Zoom to assist them. Zoom has turned out to be the tool that a lot of people are using for school and work purposes. We are learning how to work at remote locations other than the office. In my case, I have run the radio show from many places such as Florida, Kentucky, Las Vegas, D.C, etc., and have done it with similar efficiency as in the studio. I see a future model of working from anywhere springing up rapidly due to COVID.
Last week, I took a meeting request from a key government agency in the U.S. They heard about the work I’ve been doing with the Marine Corps, VA hospitals, and in the past, the U.S Department of Education. They wanted to take what we have been doing with other agencies and apply it to them. I ran them through what we had done in the past and how we do our one-day Ideation Workshops. One question that was posed was, “can this be done virtually?”. My answer was yes. It can be done just as good virtually.
Since COVID, I have been putting out “Virtual Brainstorming Demonstrations” on YouTube and have been hosting virtual brainstorms. The process has been made easy with tools like Jamboard. Through doing this, I have found that it can be more inclusive and diverse. You can invite anyone from the world to join the session without the cost of travel and extra constraints. A virtual workshop opens up more opportunities to build a better team. Another benefit is the fact that it requires less time. It takes little time to fire up a Zoom or Jamboard session and get working. More people will be willing to join in a session like this because of how hassle-free, efficient, and convenient it is.
Thoughts on Innovation Misconceptions
I received an email from a listener asking if it is a good time to start a business or invent a new product or service. This is tied to the question around COVID-19. I’ve heard all kinds of excuses and have had tons of conversations about this. People often have a great idea but haven’t done anything about it. It is often thought that innovation is for the young, but that is not the case. Vera Wang, a fashion designer, didn’t start innovating till she was forty. Colonel Sanders of KFC didn’t get to franchising till his sixties. Henry Ford didn’t start his motor company until his forties. Age is not a constraining factor, and you can’t let it stop you from innovating.
People often say, “don’t start a business in a recession/depression.” Companies like Disney and HP both started in a depression. Some think you need a special degree, which isn’t the case either. Some think you have to have all the contacts and a ton of money. There are many ways that you can work around those factors. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Firstly, you should find a community of people with similar passions. If you are an innovator like myself, join The Innovators Community. Share your own thoughts on innovation. We have about one thousand members range from high-up CEOs to innovators working out of their garage, who are supporting each other. My final question to you, “What are you waiting for”?
What are your thoughts on innovation? To know more about my opinion on recent events, listen to this week's show: Thoughts on Innovation