True innovation results in a product or service used by billions of people throughout the world making people’s lives easier or improving their lives.
The country that has the most innovations is the most powerful country in the world. There was such a country 10,000 years ago, other countries during the 18th and 19th centuries, and a new country in the 20th century. Currently, the country with the most innovations as described above is the most powerful country in the world.
What does it take for world class innovation? First, innovators. I call them trial-and-error people. They try something new. It fails. They try again. It fails. They repeat and continue to repeat until they develop the innovation.
Second, innovation comes from a team of people with different cultures and from different parts of the world with ideas from the periphery, from the edge. A UPenn study showed that teams from within a company have massive amounts of similar information, and they quickly develop good products. However, teams with geographic and cultural differences take a long time to develop a product, but these teams develop the best products.
Develop an egalitarian team with five to seven individuals who have strong professional ties from different cultural and geographic locations. Egalitarian teams develop innovative products. As the company grows, it’s important to include frontline people and people from the outer banks in decisions. For example, a study of major league baseball teams showed that using the opinions of the established, entrenched scouts produced good teams, but giving equal voice to all scouts and coaching staff, who each have different views, creates championship teams.
Third, a governmental structure is required that creates an environment for innovators, which is the right mix of personal freedom and business regulations that include intellectual property protection and uniform accounting rules. For example, a country in the distant past developed innovations that continue to be used to the present time, but governmental structures changed to centralized control that resulted in shifting innovation from that country to another part of the world. Innovation creates the strongest, most vibrant countries in the world.
How does someone come up with innovative ideas? Apply the Eplerian Philosophy of knowing where you’re thinking from moment by moment. If you’re thinking about your problems or your upset with yourself or thinking about failing, then you’re thinking from the stress center and you can’t think from the mind with creativity. If you’re stressed, you’re thinking about yourself. You can only think from one location at a time; therefore, if you’re stressed and thinking about your problems, then you can’t think from the mind with innovation.
How do you think from the mind, which is universal and has unlimited information? Because the mind is outside the body, you need to be in a slow alpha-brainwave state, not in the everyday highspeed beta-brainwave state. Everyone experiences two hours of this alpha brainwave state during sleep every night. You need to learn to create this slow brainwave state instantly while awake for creativity and innovation. This is the daydreaming state.
It’s brainstorming. One way to do this is to do traditional meditation or eyes-open meditation until you learn to be in the slow brainwave state naturally for innovative ideas.
What lifestyle is typical for innovators? Trial & error innovators live with failures, often have negative cash flow, and never retire. Innovators have failure after failure, and then, they have extraordinary international successes. Innovators are not discouraged by failures. These failures provide energy to try again and again. Not so with investors, they are deterred by failures and quickly take away the money, but that’s the part of the path to innovation. Being a trial & error person is filled with enormous risk and entrepreneurial fear in exchange for an exciting and invigorating life.
Innovation is creating a product or service that is entirely new. Innovation is fundamental for products and services that make life easier and improve the lives of billions of people. This requires learning to stop thinking from the stress center and think from the mind for creative ways to help people and innovative ideas to improve people’s lives.
By Gary Epler, M.D.