Three Tips for Innovators: Move Nimbly, Open Wisely and Fail Gracefully
How can small businesses flourish in today's disruptive age? Bestelling author Vijay Vaitheeswaran has three concise tips that make it easier for upstarts to take on the giants.
From 2011-2014, Daniel Honan was the Managing Editor at Big Think. Prior to Big Think, Daniel was Vice President of Production for Plum TV, a niche cable network he helped launch in 2002. The production team he oversaw won over two dozen Emmy awards. Daniel has created numerous shows and documentaries for television, and his film credits include Stealing the Fire, a documentary on the black market for nuclear weapons technology.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielHonan
What's the Big Idea?
Vijay Vaitheeswaran surveys the landscape of the global economy and sees "wicked problems," to borrow a phrase from the subtitle of his bestselling new book, Need, Speed and Greed: How the New Rules of Innovation Can Transform Businesses, Propel Nations to Greatness and Tame the World’s Most Wicked Problems. He sees a global middle class that is being squeezed and left out of the benefits and opportunities that breakthrough technologies have created. He sees an educational system that is seriously outdated and divorced from the real needs of 21st century knowledge workers.
Watch the video here:
Vaitheeswaran's formula for upstarts like you is as follows:
Vaitheeswaran says the most profound lesson he has to share is also "the hardest one to bring into your culture" since you are naturally inclined to want to win. No one sets out to start a business hoping to fail, particularly not entrepreneurs with Type A personalities. Vaitheeswaran argues you need to confront failure with a fearless mindset. Fail gracefully, fail fast, and own that failure. That's how you will learn from failure, "the most difficult but most important lesson of all."
What's the Significance?
The impact of globalization has given a child in Africa the same access to information that the President of the United States had at his fingertips 40 years ago. It may sound counter-intuitive, but Vaitheeswaran argues that right now might be the best time to be a member of the so-called "bottom billion" in the world, because the very poor now have the tools to create wealth for themselves, and ultimately the opportunity to disrupt the established elites of the developed world. This concept of reverse-innovation, is a powerful trend that we're seeing throughout the developing world. Poor countries are exporting ideas often born out of necessity to rich countries.
So what lessons can be learned from reverse-innovation. It takes us back to the three lessons Vaitheeswaran presented. Move Nimbly. Be Open. Fail Gracefully. This is the mindset that all entrepreneurs need to take to succeed in today's disruptive age. That is how the emerging global middle class can take feast on the rewards of globalization that may seem frustratingly inaccessible to them now.
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