What Innovation Isn’t
People mistakenly believe the airplane was invented in 1903.
The invention involved a series of inventions and designs. It actually took 6 years for the Wright Brothers to complete — from 1899 to 1905.
During that time they:
- Built a wind tunnel.
- Experimented with wing designs.
- Developed controls for roll, pitch and yaw.
- Designed and built a lightweight gasoline engine.
- Designed propellers.
On December 17, 1903, the brothers made the first successful controlled flight in a powered aircraft at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
Though it flew 59 seconds a distance of 852 feet — which was a commendable feat — the design was underpowered and difficult to control.
They next built test flight facilities in Ohio and began tests to fine tune the configuration of every component of the airplane.
Their initial flights were limited to flying in a straight line.
By the end of 1905, they were flying figure-eights and sustaining flight for 30 minutes.
They invented the first practical airplane.
It’s Not About Luck
People on the sidelines look at successful entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors, authors and artists and think they got a lucky break.
And they are partially right. They probably did get a lucky break.
But usually that lucky break came only after paying their dues in sweat — for years.
Turns out, innovation isn’t:
- A fluke
- Good fortune
- A lightning bolt
Creativity, Innovation, Success — They all come with a price.
- Hard work
- Trial + error
- Techniques to learn, to develop, or to adapt
- Skills to master
So What Price Are You Willing to Pay to Innovate?
I took an Entrepreneurship class in college. Every week, we heard from successful alumni who had founded major companies — even a couple of Fortune 1000 companies.
One told the story of a young man who approached him with a business idea. He asked the CEO to invest in his business.
The CEO declined.
When asked why, he explained to the young man, “You want me to put up all the money, but you aren’t investing any yourself.”
The young man responded, “I don’t have any money.”
“You have a new sports car. Sell it. Invest that money. And then I’ll invest too.”
He didn’t think the young man would do it.
But the following week the young man drove up in a beater car and said, “I sold my car. I want to invest in my idea too.”
What sacrifices are you making?
How long are you willing to work at your ideas?
Are you willing to fail?
Success starts with failure.
But when you have that stroke of genius — after paying the price — you realize that it was worth every drop of sweat.
So keep paying the price.
Push aside the self-doubt.
Flex those innovation muscles every day.
Sweat. A lot.
You got this!
Sometimes You Need a Little Creativity Boost
My free eBook might just help:
I use these exercises to keep the juices flowing — in myself and in my clients. (I am a marketing consultant, after all.)