Many People Think That to Be a Successful Innovator, You Have to Take Big Risks. In fact, the reality is that innovators often avoid risk. One example is Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. Knight started his business in 1964, when he was still working full-time as an accountant. He didn’t quit his job until 1969, when Nike was already starting to grow rapidly.
Another example is Warby Parker, an eyewear company that offers affordable prices. The four founders of Warby Parker were students when they came up with the business idea. However, they didn’t quit their studies to pursue their business. Instead, they balanced their studies and their business, then effectively managed the potential risks they would face.
From these two examples, we can see that innovators actually demonstrate an economic mindset by balancing risk in their portfolio. In other words, while they may be aggressive in one aspect, they also take precautions in other aspects to offset any risk.
This raises the question, will full-time work take up most of an innovator’s time and energy to innovate? Perhaps this is true, but full-time work will provide a sense of psychological security in one aspect of the innovator’s risk portfolio, so they can fully focus on other aspects.
If innovators avoid risk, how can original ideas be created? And doesn’t innovation need to be done with a risky approach?
Of course not. Risk is still necessary for innovation, but we must manage it wisely.
What about original ideas?
First, let’s define what originality is. And how can an original idea be created?
Originality begins with a rejection of the prevailing norm. In terms of originality, there are two categories:
- Those who adhere to the prevailing norm.
- Those who dare to be different.
This can be seen in our choice of internet browser. Economist Michael Housman’s research found that most customer service workers use the default browser, such as Microsoft’s IE, and think twice about trying alternatives like Firefox or Chrome. But according to a survey, those who use alternatives are more efficient in their work and can achieve the same level of customer satisfaction in 90 days of work compared to the 120 days it takes IE users.
And without realizing it, in life, we often choose the default option or the prevailing norm without realizing that there may be better options available. Those who choose to follow the existing norm think that if that’s the way the world is,then so be it. But that doesn’t mean that something that conforms to the existing norm is bad. Sometimes it can help us make better decisions. However, when it comes to originality, it is important to question the existing norm. The defining characteristic of originality is the rejection of standard choices and the exploration of better alternatives. This process begins with curiosity about the norm, followed by doubt that leads to the spark of innovation.
For example, Dave Gilboa, co-founder of Warby Parker, used to think that glasses were expensive because they were medical in nature, since he himself had poor vision. However, while waiting in line to buy an iPhone, he began to question the high price of glasses and the lack of innovation in the past 1,000 years. This curiosity led him to question the norm and spark the idea for Warby Parker, which aims to provide affordable glasses by cutting out the monopoly of the European company, Luxottica.
From this, it can be seen that innovation is not always synonymous with taking big risks. Successful innovators often demonstrate an economic mindset to balance risk in their portfolio. They may be aggressive in one aspect, but also take precautions in other aspects to offset any risk. In the context of innovation, originality is an important factor to consider.Originality begins with a rejection of the prevailing norm. Successful innovators often have a high level of curiosity and doubt about the existing norms. They are not afraid to question the status quo and seek better alternatives.