The relevant use of this term in business is something that just doesn’t make sense.
I feel we’re pretty lucky in New Zealand, that though the world economy is fraught with problems, many of our economical institutions and constructs seem to work. Which poses a dilemma for me, because without a problem to seek a solution to, how do you discover opportunity? The only thing I can think of that might be relevant is WINZ – RealMe login allows you to keep on top of most things going on with your benefit (I think there is a similar system for student living costs.) But what if your situation but not your finances change and as a user you need to talk to somebody? You have to either sit on hold listening to Tim Finn for 3.5hrs or make an appointment, wait in the waiting room and hopefully eventually talk to a (usually very friendly, accommodating and helpful) advisor/case worker. The part that seems like most people ‘just get over it’ is as a user the experience is terrible. Why is it allowed to stay like that? Because just like students at a horrible factory-for-beneficiaries (emulating the prison system) high school or most Ivy League colleges in North America – the institutions have forgotten that they are there to serve the user not the other way around. The government pays them to help us. They are not the ones giving us money (we are users, not inmates) – but that’s how they perceive the system and as the result of an indirect contamination (like a virus) – as do we.
Okay so my industry is writing and design. This is my reality. What problems come from my reality? 2.1 Access to research material, 2.2 Online distractions – while simultaneously requiring the consistent access to the internet – for research, for backing up documents, for writing this blog, answering crucial emails and messages. 2.3 Staying motivated to keep writing every day without a human being who understands my process reminding me and consistently inspiring me – like McKee’s book did or like my tutors in all years of the college where I earned my creative writing degree and all of my tutors at my first college in Television, Theatre and Radio. This is more interesting to me – I see alot of problems that could be opportunities for innovation. But a solution needs to be simple and invent-able using existing technology.
I hear this alot. If you come up with an innovation and you haven’t talked to your target market, you are cutting yourself off at the knees, because you don’t know what your user wants. On the other hand as a writer, I am my user. As an artist I don’t pander to my audience – because that’s the first caveat in the creator’s code. This paradox could itself be a problem i.e. an opportunity.
Here, I’m reminded of my first section – economics. Daily/weekly/monthly life rhythms are interrupted by things that we tend to bear the attitude of ‘just get over it’. It’s part of life and we accept that there are things that we don’t like, but who are we to change them? Well, we are the innovators, so we are exactly the correct people who should be charged with changing them. So what rhythms in my life are interrupted? The business of other people walking in and out of my life – this is a distraction as much as it is a positive one. ‘Just get over it’. Okay, fine. But what if I don’t. What if I come up with a simple solution using existing technology that allows me to stay connected and close with my people, yet still have enough time devoted to focus on quality writing and design, without demanding that my others accept (which they would never do, and I would never ask) my routine? What if there was a solution that would solve this perfectly? My first thought is a man shed. My second thought is a tiny home in a foreign city or a town in the mountains (or a cabin in the woods – not a Drew Goddard one.) My third thought is something like the Saent (google it, a crowd-funded system for turning off distractions on the computer. Apparently it works, but I found the software-version far too simplistic.) 2020 now and someone has come up with the Freewrite Traveller – a perfect solution to my problem. So too late on this one. Doesn’t mean I can’t invent a different solution that’s works in a different way and has strengths/effects that apply to the overall problem in different ways.
I think that one thing will happen alot when attempting to innovate; the problem you are trying to solve has already been solved. But perhaps it isn’t as effective as you think you could make it, maybe you could create an improvement. Or just move on to the next problem.