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Embrace Innovation

To Make Your Vision a Reality

Warwick Fairfax

March 1, 2022

There are some days when we day dream of being a great inventor or a great visionary.  Look what we could accomplish if our idea became reality!  We lie in bed at night dreaming of what could be, of what might be.  But then we wake up, and reality hits.  Who are we kidding?  We are not Walt Disney; with Mickey Mouse, feature-length films and Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  We are not Reed Hastings of Netflix with his ever-present video-streaming service and Oscar-winning movies.  We are certainly not Steve Jobs of Apple fame with Mac computers, the iPhone, iPad, and iTunes; not to mention movies like Toy Story that were made from Jobs’ association with Pixar.

Reflecting on all that such visionary world-changers have accomplished can leave us feeling discouraged and overwhelmed.  It is all too difficult.  It is absolutely impossible.

What this negative self-talk misses is that we do not have to be Walt Disney, Reed Hastings or Steve Jobs.  We just have to be ourselves.  True success is not measured by how many millions or billions our vision turns into, or in how many people are impacted.  It is measured by how much that vision means to us.  If even one life is affected by our idea, our vision, it should be enough.

So how do we bring our vision to reality, to bring our idea from day dream to an actual product, company or nonprofit?

1. It starts with an idea.

Perhaps you wonder what if the world had this.  For those who have gone through crucibles, tough times and setbacks, maybe out of your pain or feeling stuck you have an idea that might help people.

2. Fuel that idea with your passion.

The key to your idea growing from an ember to a forest fire is that it has to start with passion.  Walt Disney had a passion for telling stories through cartoons.  Reed Hastings felt DVDs offered an opportunity for a subscription service.   Steve Jobs was fascinated by technology and the promise of personal computers.

3. Try something.

It might not be the end product or the end goal; you might not even be sure that the idea will work.  But try something.  Even if it fails you will learn something.  Steve Jobs had many successes but in his NeXT venture, his high-end computers were too expensive and didn’t sell.

4. Let your vision grow.

Visions tend to have a life of their own.  Five, ten let alone twenty-year plans are difficult to craft.  Planning can be very helpful in executing the various stages of your vision, but planning the growth of the vision itself is very challenging.

5. Link one step to the next step.

Once you start the first step, inevitably one idea, one accomplishment will lead to another idea and another accomplishment.  Yes, there may be days where it feels like one step forward and two steps back, but forward momentum, trying new ideas and a willingness to experiment (yes, even fail) will produce progress over time.

6. Leverage the power of the flywheel.

As you go from one idea to another, one product to another, and see your company or nonprofit growing, that forward momentum will fuel your passion, creativity and persistence.

7. Celebrate the wins.

It is easy to mourn the losses. What we need to do is celebrate the wins.  It is easy to say in hindsight that that first win was not that big a deal and that the challenges and obstacles will only get greater.  But by celebrating what we have accomplished we will realize just how resourceful and creative we are, which will help energize us for the days ahead.

8. Build a great team.

All great visions, great ventures have a great team beside them.  We can’t do everything, nor do we have all the gifts and talents required to grow our visions and have our visions become reality.  A great team will be as passionate about the vision as we are.  They will be creative, will be optimistic and will find a way to overcome obstacles.  Their persistence, passion and commitment will fuel and bolster our own persistence, passion and commitment.

What separates great  innovators, and great visionaries, from others is their willingness to try something and even fail.  They are passionate about their visions.  They may not have everything figured out, but they are willing to try something and to start somewhere.

Reflection

  • What does the world need, that you feel you could play some small part in?
  • Why are you so passionate about this idea?  Remember your passion will fuel your progress.
  • What one first step, no matter how small, are you going to take today to help bring this idea to reality?  The size of the step is not as important as taking that step.  Take that step today.
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