Innovation is a matter of connecting value

6 months ago   •   1 min read

By Othman Benkiran

An innovation can't exist in a void. The value of an idea is much more a function of the space that it evolves in than the idea itself.

Ideas can be in and of themselves innovative. If you understand Uber, you'll understand shared economies better, and be able to see the potential for a shared economy more easily. But even in that case, your enthusiasm about shared economies will be because you're connecting that idea to experiences and desires about the world. Even when an idea is innovative, it is so because it can be innovative somewhere else.

The spaces that get innovated on are themselves a bunch of innovations to start with. Our cultures and technologies and habits are the fruit of uncountable trial-and-desires seamlessly woven into what was existing beforehand.

And yet, when we think of changing the world, we focus on the end result, the change. With that alone, we won't know much about getting there (and sometimes, we're oblivious to that limitation).

What's more essential, to me, is the value that brought the vision. That one can get you there.

Making it about why and how at the same time

To lead to innovation, a value has to be clear enough to answer both the whys and the hows of your day-to-day life.

That's especially when you create something new. In those cases, you have fewer, less obvious ways of finding out how to make things. You will generally need a value more than if, say, you were to open your own restaurant after having managed one beforehand.

The base practice for clarifying a value happens whenever you do something you think enables your values. Ask yourself "how is what I'm doing what is important to me?". Over time, you'll learn how that can be truer or less true than you think.

What that feels like in the end, for me, is having the "why" available when I go through the "how", and vice-versa—and being more able to call myself out when that's not the case.

This also exists as a group practice. Make it the next innovation you integrate in your team: sign up today.

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