During the symposium, many of the presenters commented on Chris’ ability to innovate. That led me to think more about the topic of innovation. Innovation can be an abstract concept and while growing up, I learned words such as, create and idea, before I learned about the word, innovate.
I understand innovation to be the creation of new insight and new ideas that can be used to solve problems. Without a problem, there is no reason to innovate. Problems do not have to be obvious. It is remarkable when an innovator can “read between the lines” into what customers or users say they want and give them what they actually need before they realize they need it. Innovators can create market demand out of nothing.
In technology development, I have learned that fundamental principles of science and engineering must make up the “backbone” of any innovation. Quantitative data can go a long way to help prove that:
- A problem exists with the current way things are done;
- There is a need for that problem to be solved (that which primary and secondary customers can testify):
- Your idea can solve what is causing the problem; and
- There is a total addressable market that finds value and creates demand for your idea.
Throughout Professor Floudas’ career, innovation was not instant. Usually, many iterations of an idea or method were required before a solution was reached and innovation achieved. Throughout this iterative process, much was learned and new insight was gained. He was persistent and enthusiastic, and explored every idea with rigor. Innovation was always possible.
I encourage you to think of yourself as an innovator – we all have a unique way we think, see, do, and interpret the world and our life experiences. This uniqueness grants us all the permission to innovate.