Your Next Big Thing

By Tom Hughes On January 30, 2014

Your Next Big Thing

We’re all familiar with the saying, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” 

Things change

This saying is only half true. If what you’ve always gotten is good, you may be tempted to do what you’ve always done. This is bad idea.

In today's fast paced world, staying current and relevant means bringing new ideas, products, services, and solutions to the market place.

We all know stories about technological changes making products and services obsolete almost overnight. When was the last time you saw, let alone used, a pay phone? Remember MySpace?  Probably not, yet it was once the preeminent social media site. Things change, and your business should too. 

Cross pollination

Where might the idea for your Next Big Thing come from?

A great source of new ideas for me has been other industries. Is a completely different industry servicing their customers in a way that you can adapt to the benefit of your customers? Product renting had been around for decades before software companies adapted the idea, and Software as a Service (SaaS) was born. Start by looking at your vendors and how they service you. Is there something they do that you like that you can use?

Get out of the box

Numerous — and now famous — inventions came from large organizations that had the wisdom to see that their very cultures made it almost impossible to innovate.

They solved this problem by creating Skunk Works, which was nothing more than facilities that were physically and culturally separated from Corporate. Get out of the office, into a new and different environment, and do some brain storming. Without judgment. Any idea that is new is good. At least at this point. 

Failure is your friend!

We think of staying current as a success strategy. And it is. However, I believe one of the most critical factors to staying current is to fail. If you aren’t failing, I question whether your new idea/product/service is really all that new. Version 2.0.1 is not “new” if version 2.0 has been in the market any length of time. 

In a past business I owned, we knew we had to introduce 6 or more new products and/or services every year for one to be a winner. Our business model was to fail quickly and often and find the winner as soon as possible. 

A good friend of mine is extremely proud of his organization’s Golden Monkey award. The GM is an award for what looked like a great idea only to turn into an overwhelming failure. This is an organization that embraces new ideas, the failures they inevitably spawn, and the successes they lead to.    

In summary

Look around outside of your organization for some new ideas.

Generate new ideas from within — without judgment.

Try something new. Ideally try a lot of new things. Leverage the law of averages. 

Embrace the failures as well as the successes. Create a culture of innovation.

Persevere. Or as Winston Churchill once said, “Never give up!”

Your Next Big Thing is out there waiting.

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About the author

Tom is senior advisor, business coach, and cheerleader for the team. Known for his ability to pull diverse concepts and resources together, Tom loves challenging assumptions and being creative in his approach to helping people and companies succeed. He thrives in an environment where no two interactions are ever the same. When he’s not at BizStream, Tom is usually training for an endurance competition or working on being the best grandpa ever to his 3 grandsons.

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