unlocked box

The Realities of Innovation – What Silicon Valley has to Teach Us About Risk & Reward

What we can learn about innovating from start upsAlthough there’s currently a call for greater innovation in the U.S., and although many people (including myself) are predicting an upcoming Age of Innovation, there’s no question that true innovation not only does happen regularly in certain places around the globe, but also seems to breed even more innovation.

Okay, maybe in one place in particular. Namely, Silicon Valley.

While certainly the technology industry is more primed for innovation than many other industries (especially, those in which the last time an innovation occurred there was not even a place to post, tweetor meet-up about it), the impressive pace at which tech geeks innovate is, well, kinda staggering. No sooner do they sell their start up to Google, than do they start up with their next idea. In fact, it’s likely that next idea was already brewing before the negotiations for the original start-up started. One example is Dwight Crow who sold his company, Carsabi, to Facebook and used the month off he was given between the sale and the first day of his new job at Facebook shepherding the further development of Carsabi to work on his big what’s next. 

How do I know this? Despite the fact that the nature of Silicon Valley is fairly common knowledge, the start-up technology company scene is now being well-documented on TV – thanks to Facebook Media’s new show Start-Ups: Silicon Valley which gives viewers an insider’s look at least one aspect of the technology industry – the aspect that involves very young people with very big ideas meeting with slightly older people with very big pockets – who not long ago were the very young people with the very big idea themselves.

Even though Start-Ups is reality TV and, therefore, by definition, not reality at all, there’s still much you can learn about innovation from watching these innovators in action. Not to mention, something to learn about business in general, start-ups specifically, drive, failure/success, creativity and much more.

That is, if you’re open to the message.

Because what the message is, boils down to this:

Achieving the end game of your dreams requires major risk taking, extremely hard work and a constant dance between pushing and patience. 

And those who do succeed have, without a doubt, failed exponentially more often.

It’s not far fetched to say that a single successful Silicon Valley-born company is probably built on 25 other “ideas” that not only flopped, but flopped fantastically, leaving the start up DOA and the founders floundering.

The thing is, though, they keep at it.

They pick themselves up and start again. And because they know a thing or two about how to innovate – because they took the chance before – they get smarter as they go. It doesn’t mean the next idea or company will succeed, but it does mean that, with practice, they (and we) can get better at innovating – and better and faster at standing tall in the face of failure. Truly seeing that it’s the idea that failed, not us. And only this time.

In Silicon Valley, it would seem that every creative person recognizes the need for an app of one’s own. An idea that inspires them to take on the challenge of creation and drives them to make the space and time – and the chance – for an experience that is, no matter the end result, likely to be nothing less than remarkable.

Which leads me to the next Unlocked Box Sandbox Challenge: An App of One’s Own

Visit Part #2 of this blog post for details and to participate.

This is one Sandbox that will not only be a ton of fun, but which might just be the spark for your own what’s next.  

To the start-up called YOU,

Susan B.