Facing a Personal Myth: A Response to ‘The Myths of Innovation’

‘ An innovator might ask questions like “What else in the world is like this?” and “Who has solved a problem similar to mine?”

‘When an innovation is in progress, there are always competitors.’…
The Myths of Innovation, pg. 11 & 29 respectively

In a chapter intended to inspire and free innovators of what the author believes are mythological constraints to our ideas and their potential to change our world, these were not comments that would fill an entrepreneur with reassurance.

Instead, one is made to face the insecurities that often nag those who carry and incubated their dreams waiting for the ‘right time’ to let them take flight and find root in the world, ie, the haunting feeling that if we do not release our creations into the world, someone will beat us to it and this dream that we have carried, cultivated and protected with our time, labor and sanity or lack thereof, skeptics would argue), will have been for naught. Yet is it is precisely this ghost of fearful urgency that Berkun’s words made me face through these chapters, and in the process, realize that the true strength of an entrepreneur, visionary or innovator is the ability always remain fluid and open: to competitors – they provide the necessary fire and insights that keep you on your toes; to other ideas – they will feed, morph or change your assumptions; and to your environment – nothing can take root without the right soil – the cultural, social or political context of an idea can make or break innovations. One can be so worried about being the ‘first’ in a new market, or have the ‘first’ bright idea, that we do not realize the other fallacy of innovation that Berkun attempts to dispel, and that it is not the ‘firsts’ that matter, but those that make it and survive – because they were built upon the right building blocks, at the right time, with the right luck. Personally, this reading made me realize I must just let go, and allow my dreams to evolve with confidence – and fluidity.
As the saying goes, “Aim for the sky, and you will (invariably) end up amongst the stars”. ..Just work hard &  enjoy the ride!

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