The Innovation Manifesto
Minutes from Brightness
I care deeply about our future. This is the reason for the innovation manifesto. Some tell us to live in the present, but I’d be a liar if I told you that’s all there is. That’s like telling a dog to ignore its nose or a hawk to ignore its sight. We as humans have a past and a future along with the present – memories, anticipations, and yes pleasures in the moment. And the gift is that every experience can be had three times – once anticipated, once felt, and once remembered. So let’s take that gift and anticipate our future for a moment.
My hope for mankind is bright. The future is bright. I don’t see any point in expecting the doomsday darkness of nuclear or ecological winter. Prepare against it, yes; expect it, no. Just as some scientists parade their doomsday clock, I parade the Brightness Clock. We’re minutes from Brightness.
What is this world of brightness look like? The brightness of science over superstition. The brightness of inquiry over inquisition. The brightness of discovery over disintegration. The brightness of knowledge over ignorance. Go where no humans have gone before. Explore, discover, create, innovate.
Let me remind you about the world that Galileo lived in, only 5 lifetimes ago. It was near the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment. Religious superstition clouded the world. For promoting the notion the earth revolves around the sun while ridiculing the ruling church, the church grounded him for life (placed him in house arrest.) Such harsh persecution for new ideas is still commonplace in many places today. Openly disagree with approved belief in China today and you could be grounded for life. Don’t follow approved belief in Iran or ISIS today and the results will be worse. Will you help me end persecution like that?
Where there’s religious or ideologic persecution there’s soon war. Private persecution becomes very public. Either way, there’s terror and horror.
What’s the alternative? Freedom to explore, discover, create, invent, make, express, and innovate -- all grounded in reality. And not just freedom in theory, freedom lived. Outward and inward exploration on a large scale, applauded at all levels of society. Think Silicon Valley worldwide (though without the suffocating political correctness.) Silicon World?
See scientists, inventors, makers, and entrepreneurs mixing freely in a celebration of creativity grounded in reality, with artists, composers, and authors telling the story. That’s the world I see.
In such a world, self-expression, fed by hope and knowledge, flowers.
Well, I’m not naive to imagine terror is going away anytime soon. But I do see a path toward that day. The hope of progress. How can this be when the world is in flames today?
From the Shawshank Redemption:
ANDY: Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
RED: I find I’m so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.
As it was for Andy and Red, hope is not a dream; hope spawns new lives, new possibilities. How? Their hope was grounded in reality; it wasn’t just an idle dream or fantasy. There was a realistic plan of escape and the plan worked.
So as we create Silicon World, remember to ground your new ideas in reality, using real evidence about your customers and what they're willing to pay for. Innovation is dreaming grounded in reality. This is why we at Intelliversity focus on funding innovation. Yes, we fund your vision. Yes, we want to see all deserving innovations funded. Yes, we are working to multiply the amount of money available for innovation. But, there's a larger reason for this focus on funding. The reason for focusing on funding is that smart investors are in fact grounded in reality. To respond to this, you have to learn how to launch and scale your business in reality, not just how to write an impressive pitch deck or plan. As a shameless plug, that's one of the things we do at Intelliversity. And there's more...
We're working with both sides of the table, both innovators and investors. For example, Intelliversity shows investors how to predict whether an innovator really can launch and scale his/her business. When investors get really good at this, their success rate goes from 10% to a rate of 50% - 70%. If we could teach the whole world of angel investors and venture capitalists this ability, what a change this would make in the world of innovation. Toward that end, as investors, we teach and learn from each other constantly how to pick winners more reliably. That's a big part of what we do at Intelliversity.
So in summary, what we're doing at Intelliversity is the beginning of a movement to explore, discover, and create in ways that really do work in the real world — both for you, the Vision Masters, and for those of us who fund you. This brings me back to the Innovation Manifesto.
Real innovation is realistic creativity, useful creativity. It’s not enough to create something new; it has to work in the real world or have a reasonably good shot at working to be called innovation. This doesn’t mean those wild ideas can’t be good innovations. It’s just that extraordinary ideas require extraordinary execution. The wilder our ideas, the more capable must be our execution. Great Vision Masters require partnership with great Execution Masters. Think Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, for example. You can read about the immense power of great partnerships like Zuckerberg and Sandberg in my free Ebook “Born to Star.“ The bottom line is that your vision has to work in the real world.
So, this is not the dream manifesto. This is not the fantasy manifesto. This is not the creativity manifesto. This is the "Innovation Manifesto," where dreams really do come true.
This is an invitation to join me in bringing about a brighter world where deserving innovations get funded.
More broadly, this is an invitation to move the Brightness Clock forward, toward a brighter world rooted in reality.
Will you join us?