A couple of years ago, the kind and super-smart folk at ACM SIGGRAPH asked for some tips on innovation. I took a quick read of the piece (originally published HERE), and thought it might be nice to share the details:
1. The only obstruction to our innovation, is our will to innovate.
The physical tools of innovation used to be harbored in massive corporations and institutions. Given that most manufacturing and construction tools are now available online for purchase or rental by us mere individuals, we now have access to more tools than ever before. We can view YouTube videos on how to use those tools and join Facebook communities (or a raft of other community noticeboards or chat rooms) to help us with any questions around the use of those tools. No matter where we are, we are no longer alone, our interests align with the interests of others, and the only thing stopping us from innovating is our own will to innovate.
Crowd-funding the technology and ideas that we have outside of industry has become the status quo, but it is the people we find who share our passion and our purpose who will enable us to make things truly happen, and will help those things find scale. Find your people — in person, or via the virtual, they exist.
3. What makes your life more convenient? Will that make someone else’s life more livable?
We have so many things at our disposal that make what we do faster, stronger, easier — if it can have that impact on US, what can it do for someone more vulnerable, who might not otherwise have immediate access to what we have?
4. Open-Source. Awesome Sauce.
Sometimes mass impact must happen commercially, but if you’ve an idea that can benefit others immediately, and can get even an early version of it up online somewhere, so that someone else might happen upon it and improve upon it for more immediate impact, then there’s no greater gift.
5. Help One. Help Many.
We can all help thousands of people, but that is an overwhelming prospect. Let’s each target on helping one person — that one solution for one person’s problems are usually adaptable to helping others, too. By telling people about what we’re doing, they can identify whether your solution fits their needs, too. So, help just one person, then communicate that help to empower or inspire others to do the same. It’s a much easier and more meaningful starting point.
See you somewhere cool, sometime soon.