Jul 01, 2012

Innovative Ideas Start with Innovative People: Think Different, Think Crazy, Think Simple

The word “innovation” is fired off so many times that I wonder if people know what it really means. An idea can be creative, but I think true innovation starts with an innovative person. It starts with someone who thinks outside of the norm. In a recent edition of Entrepreneur magazine, a series of articles celebrates 100 of the most brilliant up-and-coming companies and seeks to find out what makes them so successful. Below I’ve listed a few things that stand out to me.

Step out of your element.

Don’t be afraid to think different. So what if you have a degree in a specialized area or if you’ve worked in one field for twenty years; don’t let your expertise or experience limit your ability to acquire different types of knowledge and skills. Some entrepreneurs’ most successful ideas are made in unfamiliar territory. They may even be shot down by the so-called “industry experts.”

Some innovative ideas are borderline crazy.

Those are the ones I like. Consider adopting the mind of billionaire Richard Branson. He started in the music industry by making a major record label. Then he started a commercial airline. Now he wants to offer flights into outer space. He is even envisioning “space hotels.”

On a less monumental scale but with an equally impressive sense of creativity, Jonathan Kaplan began with an HD video camera business, sold it for millions, then decided to start a grilled-cheese sandwich shop. The shop is now an ever-growing restaurant chain.

The Why-Hasn’t-Anyone-Thought-of-this-Before Idea

Now, innovation doesn’t have to be about creating a multi-billion dollar empire. In Entrepreneur magazine, I found that one of the most common forms of innovation simply started by implementing a little more tech.

One entrepreneur made a healthcare App that helped patients fill out their information and helped doctors make diagnoses and order prescriptions. This simple innovation changed the healthcare experience for everyone.

“Sometimes brilliance is merely a deceptively simple, why-hasn’t-anyone-thought-of-this-before solution to a nagging problem.”

What the big boys think of your creativity.

Whether you are a mad genius or a quiet brainiac, as an entrepreneur, you will have to show your investors/bankers the value of your creativity. In Entrepreneur magazine, three investors describe what they look for:

All-in-all, the big boys get pretty hyped up about great ideas. However, just as important as the creativity is your passion and your power to carry those ideas forward. An innovative idea is nothing without the person to make it happen.

What helps you and your company be innovative?

It takes a little cash to change the world.

So what are you waiting for?

About the author


  1. You know, Tyson, I get so much flack for thinking differently than the norm (which means actually, REALLY thinking in the first place!) that I’m plum tuckered out! And the people who are criticizing me don’t do it honestly, openly, and courageously, but with a bunch of what’s often known as “signifying,” innuendo, and other “covert nastiness,” as Iyanla Vanzant accurately described this behavior. That’s because they are cowards and want to inspire the same fear and deadness in me that they feel in themselves. Because of this, most people cannot communicate with clarity and express just exactly what they mean intellectually or emotionally, because they don’t have the knack and don’t know what it even means to do that! But, as Hermann Hesse said, which I read in Alice Walker’s great collection of short stories entitled, “You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down,” “It is harder to kill something (someone) that (who) is spiritually alive than it is to bring the dead (that includes the living dead!) back to life!” Me and my spirit and the remainder of what I represent have proven hard to kill indeed and the essence of that, I believe, will NEVER die, for it is the triumph of the human spirit, which is why I have so much spiritual protection! Thanks for this Tyson! Blessed be!

    • Thanks for the comment Donna. You’re absolutely right. For me, thinking different is the only way I maintain my creativity, and, consequently, my sanity. Thanks for including the quote by Hermann Hesse; I’m a huge fan of Alice Walker.

      • Hi, Tyson,

        I’m now asking, “Who is this ‘masked’ man with whom I have so much in common?” about you! We like the same authors, we think alike; wow!

        Have you looked at my website? I’m thinking of taking the Dale Carnegie (of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” fame) Course. It may reduce the opposition to me and my ideas in my life. I don’t know, but it sounds good! A Dale Carnegie quote that I like, to paraphrase, is that he said he likes strawberries and cream, but fish like worms and other nasty things. So, when he goes fishing, he doesn’t bait his hook with strawberries and cream, but with worms and other nasty things! This sounds like a slippery slope, but there may be something in it.

        When I related that quote to my dear aunt, who shall remain nameless, she said she didn’t get the connection, bless her heart! She’s a lovely lady, pleasant and socially and financially successful, but not the best thinker (maybe that’s why she’s so successful!) She told me that she avoids negative people, which is good and which I’m trying to do more of, but I’m just surrounded by them! Maybe it will just take a bit more time for me to get more and more positive people to gravitate toward me. I have some already, and I’m determined to have many more, and, as does my aunt, avoid the negative!

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