2014 – The year of the Innovation YOUniverse

The start of a new year is chock full of predictions – and 2014 is no exception. In case you’re wondering what’s in store for you this year:

It seems everyone has a perspective on what’s to come or what’s to be. What’s also interesting is that each prediction drips with insight, market, technology, future and wisdom mining to drive the anticipation of what’s to come.

We see the same things in the world of innovation.

  • Insight Mining – More and more people are recognizing that the power of innovation is greater than just “new stuff to ship”, but it’s about new systems, new methods and new mindsets that not only help you get to the big stuff, but how you make the everyday stuff even more powerful.
  • Market Mining – Industries across the globe are recognizing that their competition is far more than just the others in their category. Progressive companies benchmark themselves versus the world, not just the next guy. Enlightened companies recognize that their true competition lies in adjacent categories in sleeper companies that no one notices.
  • Future Mining – The next generation of youth are coming, and their “mode of being” cannot be ignored by companies for long. They’re driven by mission and purpose. For them the lines between life and work are fuzzy. By traditionally run organizations their methods can be completely counter-cultural and supremely frustrating. But if you can show them that their work is part of something truly meaningful, they can do things that you can’t possibly even imagine.
  • Technology Mining – Communication, open innovation, radical shifts in the IP “arms race” are already running rampant. Companies are getting better at finding cool technologies. Technologies that can blow their customers’ socks off. But we’re still so very far away from realizing the true potential of technologies. In fact, a recent study showed that if the average company was given an “MIT-grade” technology (think: proven rocket science stuff), there’s only a 20% chance that the company will actually ship it. THAT’s how broken our innovation systems are today. It’s a huge opportunity for improvement!

What’s all the more interesting is not just what the research suggests will come, but what YOU will choose to do because of it. Head of Innovation at IBM says it this way:

“We try to get a sense of where the world is going because that focuses where we put our efforts. The harder part is nailing down what you want to focus on. Unless you stick your neck out and say this is where the world is going, it’s hard to you can turn around and say you will get there first. These are seminal shifts. We want to be there, enabling them.” (Find out more about their 5 big predictions for 2014.)

Said another way, no matter what the world is saying to you, you still must make the choice about where to lead. You take all the research and predictions in as stimulus, but then you make the choice about what you want to do. And if you don’t want to make the choice, the world will quickly make it for you – and chances are, it won’t be the path you wish to take.

So what’s our prediction for innovation in 2014? Our prediction is that when it comes to innovation in 2014 literally anything is possible.

You have all the resources in the world, even if you’re a company of one.

You can go as fast as a rocket, even if you’re a corporation with 10s of thousands of employees.

You can work with the best in the world, even if you’ve never traveled outside your hometown.

In this whole world of possibility, there is only one limiting factor in the whole equation – the choice YOU make about what you are going to do with the opportunity before you.

(Hint: Do #$?! that matters would be a good answer here.)

Here’s to 2014 – a year of incredible potential!