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Saturday, June 26, 2010

LIVING OUTSIDE THE BOX: Awareness, Acknowledgment, and Actions - Three Key Ingredients to Making a Profound Positive Difference in Life and Business

Living Outside The Box with Joe Wallace

The origins of entrepreneurship are the ideas and perspectives that people have and then act upon to create changes that often have profoundly positive economic or social outcomes. These outcomes can range from businesses in the manufacturing sector that create wealth through solving problems and offering solid solutions to elegant services that make human life better.

Ideas and perspectives germinate in the minds of acutely aware individuals during the day to day activity of living. By the powers of observation and through a healthy feeling of discontentment with the status quo, curious visionaries identify potential solutions to society’s problems. When these visionaries have ambition, drive, and access to capital, sometimes they become entrepreneurs. When their ideas become successful products and services, the entrepreneurs and their communities can accumulate wealth and enhance quality of life.

Awareness: Living a day to day lifestyle that is characterized by awareness is vital to individuals and businesses that aspire to become game changers. To solve problems and present solutions, one must be aware of the sources of discomfort and have the initiative to ponder how to improve life for all. The status quo is the target. Ideas, thoughts, and awareness are the arrows in the quivers of aspiring high impact people.

Higher consciousness is just as necessary for invention and technical innovation as it is for the initiation of sweeping social change. It all really starts with the acute awareness that leads to the recognition of problems that are in need of a solution. Other people’s problems are a treasure chest of opportunities for those with the curiosity and presence of mind to recognize them

Acknowledgment: Once a problem condition has been identified, it is important to progress through a period of contemplation for the purpose of truly accepting that the perceived problem is really a problem. It is necessary to go through a series of thoughts and discussions that completely convince both oneself and others that something significant will happen should a practical solution be developed for the problem that has been identified. At the conclusion of the acknowledgment phase, the investigator will not only have found a problem on which to ponder, but will have gotten outside validation for the need of a solution.

Action: When the need for a solution consumes an investigator to the point that it is decided to pursue solutions something magical happens. The quest for a solution has a way of taking on a life of its own and spontaneously attracting a variety of talented people to the cause. In the initial action stage potential solutions are formulated and vetted through brainstorming or even through using internet based open innovation forums. Promising solutions are identified and planning is begun to design and test the solution set. Unlike a lifestyle of awareness and acknowledgment of a specific problem, the action phase can take on many forms.

Sometimes the post-eureka moment action will be a well written business plan to seek investment capital. Other times the action will result in a working prototype that can be tested prior to deciding what is needed to truly initiate the actualization of the solution. The action phase can become an endless loop of continuous improvement. Each iteration should be designed to make the solution better and more available to a wider audience.

As Andrew Grove, founder of Intel admonishes us in his book, “Only the Paranoid Survive”, it is only through blowing up the road you just passed over and making your solutions obsolete that a business can truly stay in front of competition.

Problems are Opportunities: Where are today’s opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship? We can all benefit from innovation in the areas of food, energy, education, healthcare, government, travel, workforce development, and a multitude of yet to be defined areas. The same was true 10 years ago, 50 years ago, and 100 years ago. A better question would be, “Where are we not in need of positive disruptive change”?

For more information, please visit Joe's TNNWC Bio.

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