The common denominator among successful entrepreneurs is their ability to execute ideas. But the very best entrepreneurs become great by dreaming up great ideas to execute.
Great ideas are not a matter of genius, only perspective. When it comes to innovation, there is an important insight to understand: perception is both the problem and the opportunity. We all live in the same world, yet see it very differently. Solutions and opportunities are both buried and unearthed by perspective alone. Too often entrepreneurs obsess about the gargantuan task of changing reality when change actually begins by changing our perception of reality.
In the world of entrepreneurship, creativity is currency. Solving problems, developing the next great product or service, and improving daily business processes is absolutely critical. Those who do this well are considered to be on “the cutting edge.”
These creative entrepreneurs bring a new perspective to a longstanding reality that others have declared permanent and unchangeable. Entrepreneurship, leadership, success, and innovation all begin as a mind-set, not a skill-set. Creativity requires rethinking, relearning, and risk-taking.
So here are three practical ways to inspire your inner-Maverick:
- Let go of the current model.
Our creativity depends largely on how we have learned to view and interpret ourselves, others, and the world around us. Looking at the world through a common and recurring lens merely confirms prior assumptions. In other words, what we think we know about the world influences our perception of the world, more than the world itself. This is why one of the greatest challenges to any innovator is presenting the current circumstances in such a way that will allow for a new perspective that may lead to a new solution.
- Ask a new question.
Few techniques have the ability to change our focus of attention faster than questions. The right questions can force our minds to examine our assumptions and seek new information. Some productive questions include:
- What is great about this that I haven’t noticed yet?
- If I weren't attached the outcome, what would I do?
- What would the result be if I assumed the opposite?
- What would the result be if I did the opposite?
- Is this the only or best way to accomplish this?
- Is it possible that I am missing information that no one knows exists?
- Why not?
- How would ____ [insert name of creative role model] view/handle this situation?In short, constructive questions create a starting point that may help to reveal new alternatives. This can’t be overstated when we acknowledge that we can’t take advantage of what we don’t know exists.
- Experiment and take risks.
The current circumstances have set the stage perfectly for the Maverick's era, whereby thinking different is not only wise, but necessary. Originality and creativity are rewarded, and Maverick thinkers are cashing in by poking and prodding at the status quo; acting on hunches and experimenting with “little bets” that change the game itself. There is immense value in being able to think and act independently in a world of conformity and convention. In fact, all innovation and novelty depend on it.Unfortunately, be it consciously or unconsciously, many people sacrifice a lot to preserve a sense of social approval. Those who hold security as a priority rarely explore the unknown, express their ideas, and experiment with new ideas. Why? Because originality requires experimentation and such boldness requires a tolerance for risk. Seeking creative inspiration means risking time, money, energy, and embarrassment. It means being willing to embrace ideas wholeheartedly without the guarantee of success, understanding, or acceptance. This, at times, means being judged and being wrong. But for Maverick entrepreneurs, the potential of novelty and innovation outweighs the possibility of loss or embarrassment.
Finally, I realize that writing about this topic is so much easier than applying it. But take heed: No one can force you to challenge yourself or popular ideology, or to embrace your creative inklings. In the end, it’s always a personal choice to engage or restrain.