Note: This blog was originally published on MaRSDD.com 30Mar2015. It has been reposted here with permission from the author.
IMAGINATION, INNOVATION & IMPROVEMENT
How do these three words intersect?
In 2013, Deloitte published the global Millennial Innovation Survey with one of its key findings being that: “Innovation is considered to be one of the top three ‘purposes’ of business and just as important as profit.” At a recent workshop at MaRS, Jennifer Rosart, Innovation Project Manager at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, posed the question: “What is the difference between improvement and innovation?” The smiles on the faces of the workshop’s participants indicated that it was a provocative question. Jennifer expanded on the hospital’s distinction between improvement and innovation by adding the word 'imagination'. Improvement is solving a problem with an existing technology or tool. Innovation is solving a problem by imagining a solution that does not yet exist.
In my work with entrepreneurship education, I was fortunate to be involved with an amazing array of companies and ideas. What I find fascinating about all of them is the human capacity to imagine a different way of being or doing. One impactful example of the 3 i’s in action is MaRS venture eSight. eSight’s goal was to give sight to those deemed legally blind. By imagining a solution that would enable users to have freedom, self-efficacy and confidence with seamless vision, the eSight team was able to innovate a hands-free, mobile and multi-use technology that allows users to move seamlessly through their activities!
Entrepreneurs imagine a different future and find innovative ways to bring it to reality and to improve lives. If you want to innovate, here are some ways to get started.
- Respect your mistakes and learn from them.
- Be a dissenter—but do not be the type who goes to jail!
- Be the type of dissenter who questions existing models.
- Embrace the unknown, don’t fear it.
Join us at the Toronto Reference Library on October 18; 6:30-8:00pm, for an Entrepreneur Panel Discussion, led by me! Hear the stories of various entrepreneurs and how they are changing the way things are traditionally done.
Get one-on-one small business help by filling out an application here. Applications close Monday, October 31, 2016.