INNOVATOR: loser with a cause
In a simple description, Innovation: is an intentional process of putting something new, and useful into the market.
For keeping the definitions simple, I will define a market as a group of people* that adopt the new ideas and solutions as their new preference for solving a specific problem, or job to be done.
*as long as cats, dogs, koalas, aliens, robots, and other creatures are not yet granted the rights to do so.
If we follow the same logic, an innovator is a person that has a professional license to innovate: is able to put something new and useful into the market, intentionally, successfully, repeatedly, in any circumstance, context, and time constraints.
However, If we treat innovation as an expertise area of knowledge and skills, we need to explain things in more practical, and, unfortunately, unpolished manner. In a colloquial translation it could basically mean the following:
Innovation is an intentional process of applying something borrowed from somebody else, and adding something else unrelated from somebody else into a new concept of solution, that, probably, would not make much sense at first for the majority of people. All that, with the consequence of changing people’s old habits that used to give them the sense of stability, understanding, and mental homeostasis.
Putting it this way, we realize that achieving innovation is difficult as hell, and you will fail many times before doing it.
If you need some real life reference, think of combating climate change with international regulations, or teaching a cat to walk on leash.
If you want to achieve it, you have to innovate, because regulations are not meant to solve problems. They are usually the corrective, and forced actions for things done wrong (when wrongly established and executed can do more damage than good).
Cats do not walk on leash, neither they would (would have, could have) pay anybody to do so when the time comes that grants them that right.
Both things would require from you incredible resourcefulness for connecting seemingly unrelated things into working solution. In other words, you would have to ask the question “what if” to combat climat change.
However, we have been taught at schools not to use things in any context they were not designed for: do not put the fork into your eye nor electrical outlets, do not eat yellow snow, or snots.
Only the crazy ones, the misfts, the rebels do make cats walk on leash, only the uneducated, or under watched kids eat boogers, and only the curious kids stick forks into the electrical outlets (some of them are our students).
We are taught not to do these inappropriate things to keep us, and others sane and safe from our own creativity, even if it comes at costs of keeping us weaker than our peers by not eating the damn boogers.
That is, exactly, the same reasons the over protective parents will not want you to study arts, specially if they pay, at least partially, for it. It simply makes no sense for your own stability.
How will you pay for your student´s loan when you finish your music degree?
If you are an engineer you can, at least, go straight after the graduation to work in a factory for 10 years and then you are “financialy free to start building your dreams”. Musicians would have to ask the “what if” question to survive, and the succesful ones usually do it. The same applies to engineers, if they decide to choose the dangerous route.
Only the crazy ones take it, independently of their origin, study major or gender. They come up with ideas like offering an air mattress to strangers in their own home. To do what? invite psychos, rapists, murderers into their comfortable habits of sharing their homes, where they live with only people they trust.
Changing people’s habits is one of the most conflictive, and dangerous activities you may wish to do. Convince your Mexican parents to live with your boyfriend before marriage, do not shave your legs for the first date, do not shave your armpits in any of the social circumstances (applies for women only, with occasional exception for winter periods and long sleeves) infringe the law to offer easy, afordable, fast, and safe transport around the city, allow women to vote, and gays to marry.
Yes, you will have to be the bad ass,
and infringe many obsolete but persistent habits and norms if you wish to innovate. Some of them will make your parents mad, disqualify you for a second date, make you go to the cinema to watch wonder woman, make others lose jobs, be beaten up, or even risk your own life. Some of them, however, will make you win 250, 000 dollars.
The job to be done of innovation is to destroy the status quo, to make life a better experience for some, and piss off the remaining others. In the best case, people will support you and adapt to your ideas and make them grow, in majority of case they will ignore you, in the worst, they will try to stop you, damage, humiliate, reject (put the adjective you wish from your own experience). In the last case you will have to learn how to be a loser. How to stand up, re-desing, re-discover, and carry through.
Summing it all up, it gives me no other choice than to define an innovator is, indeed, a loser* with a cause that possesses the professional resistance, courage, and extreme learning skills from any, and all, intentional, or unintentional failures resulting from the process of applying something borrowed from somebody else, and adding something else unrelated from somebody else into a new concept, because it probably will not make much sense at first for the majority of people, but make the world a better place worth fighting for.
Then next time you see a kid eating boogers, think twice before nagging him, he might be the next something.
*as long as cats, dogs, koalas, aliens, robots and other creatures are not granted the rights to do so. If that ever happens, cats would be the best innovators, they are probably the most disobedient assholes in the entire universe.