Have you ever had (or still have) a hope of coming up with a groundbreaking idea that will lead to building a business and many riches?
Like, how did someone come up with post-its? Or how did a person come up with creating cardboard containers that can hold liquid and, even better, will fold out on the top to create a pouring contraption?
Or perhaps how did someone come up with the principle of network folder synchronisation?
If you think about these things, they seem like such straightforward solutions to problems people were having. How do some people just come up with them?
Is it the case you sit back in your chair and concentrate really hard on coming up with something new? Notebook at the ready just waiting for that genius idea? Many have most likely tried, and many surely would have failed.
Forcing yourself to genius is not a very practical way of going about things.
Some people would suggest that these brilliant ideas are a flash of lightning in a bottle kind of thing. It will hit you once in a lifetime, and it will just click.
There is no way to come up with these things actively. People will point at lifelong inventors who come up with 1,000 ideas of which there are 1,001 impractical applications.
True invention and genius comes from a magical or divine inspiration which can’t be forced. People might say that genius is a form of luck.
Another school of thought is that invention comes off the back of a curious mind. And, a drive to better things. For example, if you are frustrated by something, and you actively look for a way to improve things to make your life easier (or that of someone who you hold dear).
There is a saying that goes, ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’’. There is something about dealing with practical problems and challenging the status quo.
Things do not have to be the way they are presented.
You can find this type of innovation in ride-hailing apps such as Uber (why can’t I know my price ahead of my ride, and why can’t I pay online?). Streaming services (why can’t I have my chosen series or film instantly?) and why did we stop improving on essential items (such as a lightweight rollator or straws)?
Having an apparent problem and a drive to improve is critical to sparking genius.
Inventing from necessity also ensures that you are tackling a real-life issue, something that is often forgotten when inventing for the sake of invention.
The most common fallacy is to think something is genius because of ingenuity, rather than seeing a real-world and sizeable need for innovation. Most groundbreaking innovations aren’t necessarily world-shattering on face value.
They are usually small, but fundamental, tweaks on things you already know and use.