The Next Great Idea is Staring You Straight in the Face
The Next Great Idea is Staring You Straight in the Face

Let’s play word association with the following athletes: Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods.

Greatness.

Now how about for business? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett.

Probably a word that is similar.

How about Nobutoshi Kihara?

Who?

Nobutoshi created the tape.....

Let’s play word association with the following athletes: Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods.

Greatness.

Now how about for business? Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett.

Probably a word that is similar.

How about Nobutoshi Kihara?

Who?

Nobutoshi created the tape recorder, the video camera and the digital camera at Sony. When Sony’s co-founder Masaru Ibuka was asked to describe Nobutoshi, he said he was “godlike” and could create a brainstormed prototype within a day.

But do we refer to him as greatness? Of course not – because we don’t know who he is.

Michael Jordan did not create the game of basketball. He rewrote it. Muhammad Ali wasn’t the first boxer. He changed the sport. Babe Ruth didn’t hit the first homerun. He just hit more of them. Tiger Woods was not the first great golfer. He just happened to be more marketable than any golfer before him. Jobs didn’t create the computer and Groupon wasn’t the first form of discounting. McDonald’s? Ray Kroc didn’t create it – he found it, built it, and made it great.

Very rarely is greatness built from a new, never-before-seen foundation. It is created by twisting a previous practice and trying to make it better.

This is why the next great idea could be staring you straight in the eye – you just can’t see it, or are not ambitious enough to try to create it.

Every single day you are faced with the ability to make decisions. You decide what side of the bed you are going to awake on; if you are going to brush your teeth; if, on a Monday, you want to go to work or not. Typically, our decisions head in the direction of the norm. Occasionally, they go against.

When I decided to get healthier, I decided that I was going to put a TV by the treadmill and play NBA2K while walking. I also decided to no longer eat bread or diet soda, or cream in my coffee. I wasn’t creating revolutionary weight loss techniques; I was simply creating my own adaptation based on my own decisions.

In business, my ideas are nothing new, either. When I created No Limit Agency, I didn’t create Social Media nor was I going to open the first PR firm. I just saw a gap that I thought I could fill. Nothing new – just an adaptation on an existing foundation.

However, deciding to make a change or adapt a previous model is just step one – you need more than just an idea and execution to tag the word “greatness” to your foundation. You need that special one inch of difference.

Did you know that Steve Jobs and Nobutoshi died in the same year? Yeah, 2011. One went on, and continues to be, iconic. The other, no one knows his name nor celebrates all of his inventions – many of which Jobs simply adapted.

That secret sauce – the ultimate point of difference – is the personality of the creator and how it is marketed.

People buy from people – not from brands.

Thus, the perfect cocktail for the next great idea is: One part adaptation, one part commitment to execution, and one part people. So simple, I know. Yet many of us will complete the walk of life without ever taking one step in the other direction.

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