Understand the Context
Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s a product of life. Life is the experiences we have – the good and the bad, the fun and the not so fun. Every day here on earth shapes our minds and how we perceive our lives, and it’s our past, whether we acknowledge it or not, that effects our experiences. History is the key to today, and today is the key to the future. If we understand the future, we can help bring it about. We can be the drivers – we become the innovators. In other words, to shape the future, we must first understand how we arrived at the present, and to understand how we arrived at the present requires understanding the greater context that the present arose from.
So how do we understand the context?
Whether you want to admit it or not, you are a product of your environment. Society shapes the way you live your life, from the clothes you wear to the music you listen to. From the foods you eat to the things you spend your time on. And guess what – society didn’t arise from a vacuum either. Society is a product of history, and by transitive property, so are you. Therefore, to conceive what you want, what you need, you must understand history. And when you understand what YOU want – and not what you like want, but really, really crave – you likely find what everyone else wants. And now you can innovate. Innovation starts with understanding what movements shaped your society on a grand scale.
Understand Your Sub-Culture
You are a part of society at large, and you are effected by it. Don’t hide from that fact. But you think Tyler Durden had it right. You reject society. The first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club. Congratulations, you’ve made it.You’re the same as everyone, you just joined a group that pretends that you’re not. You’re a reaction to society at large. Marx had it right in more ways than one.
Good news – subcultures are just another word for niches. And niches lead to riches. Ahhhh, so you’re getting it now. You’re not so different. You want to make money just like those high rollers in society you’ve rejected, because in the end you are human. Just please don’t pretend you’re ultimately different. Let’s get to business. You’ve got a niche. Understand that niche. It arose as a reaction to society at large, now it’s your job to decipher why and how. If you figure that out, you truly begin to understand the state of your niche – what motivates it, what makes it tick, what makes it live and breathe. NOW BE THE OXYGEN. Give it life, feed it, nurture it, grow it. You love it, so embrace it and give your life to it. If you can do that, innovation is only natural.
Remember, innovation is just a product of life. A life of understanding.