- Bill Gates has once said: “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years”.
- On the other hand, Steve Jobs once said: “Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it”.
Both of these quotes put together must mean that if someone is inspired, has ideas and acts
systematically on those ideas, it must be possible to create a company like Facebook in ten years. But would someone have needed a
PhD in computer science and an MBA from Harvard Business School before starting Facebook? The answer is a simple no! The creator
of Facebook neither had a PhD in computer science, nor had an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Famously, Mark Zuckerberg certainly had a lot of talent, but more than that, he was inspired!
Let us think about some barriers of innovation from three stories.
- A wheel was created roughly 5,500 years back, but a wheel was put on a suitcase in about ~ 1970. It turns out we need not have waited for decades to have achieved this. The reason this took so many decades is because whenever someone proposed this idea, others laughed at them. I call this the barrier of laughter.
- The first type writer was created in ~ 1868. At that time, the keys were analog, and used to get jammed with each other. The original inventors purposefully made the key arrangement sub-optimum, so that the typists could not type faster than a certain pace. Again this problem created a barrier that the world could not overcome even after digital revolution took place. The keyboard of today is equally sub-optimum as the original keyboard. I call this the barrier of change.
- If we look at products and services that we can say changed the world and made people’s lives better, often times we would find, that the innovators were not always the leading scientists in the field. Steve Jobs didn’t have any formal education in electronics. He constantly had to consult Steve Wozniak and inspire him to create quality electronics. I call this the barrier of science.
From all these stories, it is clear that innovation must not be easy at all. It has plenty of barriers – Scientific, social, and even political. All those amazing people and organizations who designed the world changing products did three most important tasks in the process; that is, to ‘THINK’, ‘LEARN’, and ‘ACT’. However, what has to certainly work for all the innovators is inspiration. Steve Jobs was not a scientist, but he was a visionary, a dot connector, an inspirer, and always wanted to bring about a change.
Taking inspiration from what Aaron Patzer said, “I always knew I wanted to be a technologist, so I went to Duke and got a degree in computer science and electrical engineering. Really, I thought my goal in life was to be an inventor, a problem solver, so I thought I needed a Ph.D. to be good at inventions, but it turns out that you don’t.”
I tell myself every day that to be able to innovate, it is far more important to inspire and be inspired, than to be knowledgeable. More often than not, I have found that when I have an idea, I can always hire someone to implement it. And to my surprise, the end product takes roughly half of what I think it would take and usually achieves three times more than what I originally imagine. This is the reason, we all ought to ‘inspire‘! Inspire ourselves, and inspire others.