The Big Picture
My notion of how we plan our lives is that unconsciously we set up a wish list. On this wish list, we record all the wonderful things that we see around us that we hope one day will be ours to enjoy. Nothing is wrong with having a wish list. However, we might not have any clue how we will gain or achieve the things on our wish list, but we have a clear picture of what it will look like if we do. This is also good–we need to be able to visualize what it is we intend to achieve. The problem usually occurs after this stage. We do nothing. By not doing anything, the items on our wish list remain as wishes or dreams.
“You say I am a dreamer, but aren’t we all? The main difference between us is that I live my life so that I can make my dreams a reality, while your dreams will only appear while you’re asleep.”
Unfortunately, having the right picture of success, but no impetus to go make it happen will not take you anywhere. In order to grow a plant, you must first plant the seeds; and if you want fruits, you must water and nourish the plant. The process is simple, but it must be executed in the right sequence.
Look out for the Signs
It’s not clear what to look for when we are seeking out growth opportunities. They rarely have a bullseye, saying “I’m the one, you’ve been looking for.” That would be too easy, although to some entrepreneurs that’s exactly what it looks like. Inspiration for an idea or opportunity can come at any time though, so you must always be ready. Sometimes, it is that solitary thought that comes to us while we are watching an event or while relaxing after exercising. Then there are the rare ideas that make you spring out of bed. Never simply brush aside a thought because you believe it’s just a post dream whim — jot it down. The truth is that those flashes are the signs we need to pay attention to. They may contain a eureka moment or an idea that if further explored could lead to the solution that has been eluding you. Rememeber, a diamond was once only a rock, but with time and attention it is transformed into the most beautiful object we can ever imagined. The true benefactor is not the person who sees the diamond, but the one who recognized the rock.
Let’s Think and Innovate
Given the many inventions throughout our existience, we have never been disillusioned about our ability to think and innovate. Human existence has been about ideas and ingenuity from day one. The direction and focus of that ingenuity, however, is a source of much debate and controversity, to some extent. Most people in the developed world will see human ingenuity has a positive. It has taken us to places and heights that our ancestors could only imagine, and beyond that. Developing countries, on the other hand, are not able to harness the technologies and innovations as these developed countries can. They do not have the financial resources or technical labour force that are required. As a result, they see technology as a fast moving target that they can never keep up with. Ironically, it’s the gifted and talented immigrants from these developing countries that most times are the backbone of such innovations. Developed countries have managed to directly or indirectly incentivized these talents to take up residence in there countries and grow their technological programs. As a result, there is a brain drain on these developing countries as they see their intellectuals migrating to developed countries to realize their dreams. So technology and innovation on the one hand is concentrating talent in one sphere, while simultaneously draining the other. This shift only creates an imbalance in technological advancement, it does not impact the distribution since in order to compete globally, companies and individuals must get acquainted quickly with the new technologies. It’s now a matter of cost!
The Global Marketplace
Everyone with the next ” big idea” wants to market it where they can get the “most bang for their buck.” It makes perfect sense. The developed countries and their large markets provide the perfect conditions for the launch of new products and services. But while ideas are as many as sand grains, only a few become what I call “market shakers.” To be a market shaker, the product or service must redefine either the way we do, see or visualize things, while being financially viable. This latter requirement is becoming blurred, by consumers willingness to reach further into their pockets for innovative, quaity products. A few relatively recent examples are the Internet, Google, Facebook, iTunes, iPhone and Blackberry. These products revolutionized the way we do various things in our lives when they were first introduced. Some have become a way of life as in the case of the Internet and Facebook.
My list of standout products and services are biased by my geography, age, sex, and lifestyle: Yours would be too! I live in a developed country, Canada, where I use those tools daily to make my life a little more convenient and producttive. Where else does time equate more to money than in a fast-paced industry in a developed country. Markets in developed countries are driven by innovation, and no one ever wants to be caught with outdated technologies. As a result, there is more focus on limiting inventory and reducing shipment and delivery times so that products are transferred to the hands of consumers before they’re outflnked by the next wave technology. Organizations getting stuck with outdated inventory will face crippling costs and lost in market share, since consumers always gravitate towards what’s hot, even if the older technology was more than adequate for their needs.
“Leveraging the power of technology has become a way of life which is almost synonymous to breathing. If you fail to upgrade, it could be the death of your business”
An Uneven Playfield
Let’s take a four hour flight to the Caribbean, or better yet, a ten hour flight to Africa. As one might expect, the availablity and use of technology on this continent are startlingly different from the developed world. Technology isn’t as integrated into everyday living here. Technology is expensive because the infrastructure cost to support it is borne by the few who can afford to use it. The full power of the technology cannot be leveraged because only a few specialists are conversant with its application and the market is not willing to pay for the so-called “redundant” effects, which cannot add to the bottom line immediately. The reality in these countries is that you do your best to stay ahead of your competitors and then stop! The opportunity cost to go beyond that point is unjustifiable.
Putting it into Perspective examined how we’re moving forward as a race. It looked at how we start out our quests for success and explored some of the considerations that have taken us to where we are today and will continue to lead us into the future. Technology is certainly at the forefront of what we do, but it is not equally available or affordable across the globe. Developed countries and their residents have a competetive edge, but the next big ideas are likely to be due to developing world thinking. This is because most of the talent and gifted people are decedants from developing countries who have taken residence or citizenship in developed countries for personal and financial reasons.
As individuals, we all have important roles to play. During elections, we each have a single vote, but collectively we can decide the fate of a nation. That one idea that you generate can change the course of our lives and change the paradigm forever. Don’t take your ability to think and innovate for granted, make it count. Become a difference maker, not just another face in the crowd!
The Big Picture