Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Which creek? Got a paddle?


Image via iStock
by RMIT's Entrepreneur in Residence, Marcus Powe

Where do ideas come from? Why do some turn out to be wonderful opportunities but others remain great ideas and never go anywhere?

There are too many ideas, so how on earth do you pick the right one?

The challenge is often how these great ideas connect to people, markets, technologies, communities and societies to become opportunities. The first step is creativity. Adults have in many cases forgotten their creative skills, how to play with ideas, connect ideas and dream. Creativity is simply making connections others can’t – could these connections be your advantage? You cannot make these connections unless you take off your blinkers.

You have permission to play! Oh no, that’s not professional.

Play with your ideas, thoughts and imagination. Mix things up to get different results. But make sure that you learn from your and others’ mistakes. Too many people take the traditional narrow approach to business, the way it has always been, to achieve results. Entrepreneurs (or, if inside an organisation, intrapreneurs) have the enterprising mindset and ability to remove their blinkers so they see many opportunities. Did you know that if you are physically tired, creativity is not going to happen, if you are emotionally exhausted, it’s even worse; the blinkers are well and truly closed?

Rest. I dare you to stop being busy.

If you are refreshed, only then can you ‘see’ and use the Tools of Innovation. The tools will help you as an entrepreneur decide which idea to invest in and when and how it should be developed, adjusted, accelerated or held back. The tool kit developed will give you the ability to adjust your idea, business or organisation to help maximise its potential.

There are so many ways of growing opportunities; so many models, theories, rules, strategies and tactics – how do you have the time to remember them? What should you do first? In answer to this I have developed a very simple list called the Cascade. When you are challenged with the pace, turbulence and even the chaos of creating, developing and delivering opportunities, I envisage the Cascade will help prevent you from looking back if something goes wrong and saying, ‘How could I have forgotten that?’ Going with the flow or May the forces be with you!

The power, simplicity and advantage of the Cascade can be used for all businesses, not for profit, communities, small, medium, large, clubs and societies. I have developed and used it for over 30 years.

It works.

I have found that people learning about business, innovation, marketing, entrepreneurship and strategy had learned many business models. But these models were always taught in isolation – meaning that people could never see how the models influenced one another, or connections between the models.

The models were generally taught with academic, not real-world, situations in mind. Once people had learned the models, they would go out into the market and realise that they had no idea why or when they should actually use them – the ‘so what?’ of the models. It was like they were taught how to put a car together, but never how to drive it.

The Cascade follows the idea of getting into a raft at the head of a river rather than the end. This river trickles down over a series of nice gentle steps, slowly and easily getting you to your final destination. Have you ever tried to paddle upstream? Going with the current is easier and smarter.

I like the idea of minimum effort for maximum results, and the power of simplicity over complexity.

Got a paddle?

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