Innovation has become a buzz word within marketing circles as of late, with articles, TED talks, and entire sections of magazines dedicated to the subject. Though everyone has a slightly different take on the definition, most would agree that it plays a vital role in the formation of ideas and is essential to progress.
The best way I can explain it is to say that innovation is the combination of all the little things you do, day in and day out. And when those actions are completed thoughtfully and intentionally, they begin to form the energy, direction, and purpose of your business.
Innovation connects the dots.
Steve Jobs once famously said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” (Reference)
When a great idea is formed, innovation says that it’s not an “ah-ha” moment, but is in fact the laborious result of many dots finally being connected.
How Rjukan, Norway Connected the Dots
The town of Rjukan, Norway is situated deep inside a valley, surrounded by mountains that block the sun for seven months each year, from September to March. The residents of Rjukan realized this was affecting tourism, so they sought a solution, and mounted three 56-square foot reflectors high above the valley in a nearby ridge – 1,500 feet above their town. The result was a 1,476 foot long streak of daylight, shining right into Rjukan’s market square.
Now, this sounds like an “ah-ha” moment, but the idea for the Sun Mirror, as it’s called, was actually one hundred years old. The town of Rjukan was first developed in the early 1900s to provide housing for hydropower plant workers. Sam Eyde, the founder of the town and the plant, was tired of living in shadows and read about the idea of sun mirrors in 1913. He thought the sun would increase productivity among his workers, but Eyde never had a chance to install the mirror. Fast forward to the 21st century and the idea has become reality.
That’s innovation. A one hundred year old idea with dots that are just now being connected.
Get Started (Because Who Knows How Long It’ll Take)
Within your company or organization, a steady focus on innovation creates your brand’s intangibility, your competitive advantages, and provides solutions to your market. But as we’ve read from Steve Jobs, and seen from the town of Rjukan, Norway, it takes time, and you can’t look ahead and see how each dot will be connected – you can only look back. So get started today. Operate each day with passion. Love what you do. Strive for greatness. And eventually, the dots will connect.