MICHAEL VRONSKY SAYS: Innovation? It’s just one foot in front of the other

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I asked a manufacturing acquaintance (hardly a friend because it’s necessary to maintain a distance in order to allow for objectivity) about why he spends so much on innovation. Somewhat facetiously but not without a grain of truth or impertinence if you will ”Why not just milk what you already have and save some money?”

He said “Certainly a lot of companies do this, but not us.”

He then continued and these are as best I can recall the words he used. ‘I’ll share a little secret with you. We innovate to help us figure out what’s next. Discovering the new means you have to step outside the old.

I thought this to be a bit of a cliché – but he hadn’t finished.

Imagine for a moment staying inside your home and never venturing outside. There’d be plenty of benefits: comfort, safety, familiarity and … lower cost. But compare that to the adventurer who is outside engaging in whatever comes his way. Sure there’s downsides: uncomfortable situations, fear of new things, unfamiliarity, higher costs.'

Okay so yes, he had my attention. He went on to say that ‘The bigger picture is that while the person staying in the house is comfortable he doesn’t grow and discover what’s outside while the more adventurous learns, grows, meets new friends and winds up in a place he could never have predicted.'

Still a bit ‘new age’ for me at that point but his concluding observations struck home.

‘We innovate because each step in the innovation process happens as a result of putting one foot in front of the other to get to the new. We don’t know where we’re going because we’re inventing the future.

“Which means what?” I said. He replied ...... 'I guess I am just not an indoor kind of guy.'

Me though, I’m still wondering about how to contribute to ‘inventing the future

I'll need to get back to you on this.

Thanks for reading.

MV

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