Innovation Is Time-Based
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard
The defining characteristic that differentiates innovation from all other forms of value is its time-based nature. Innovation happens in the future for which we have no data now. We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it. The other complication to innovation’s timing is the inevitable expiration date: innovation has a shelf life. It goes sour like milk. Think about all the gear you bought for your kids at the Apple store last Christmas. This year, it will all be outdated. An innovation doesn’t stay an innovation for very long.
Innovation calls us to do the impossible: to build for a future we can’t yet see. The only given in innovation is uncertainty, so it’s time to make uncertainty work for us. What Kierkegaard said of everyday existence, we can also say of innovation: it can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards. In the face of the unknown, all we can do is move forth. Get out of sync. Sail against the wind. Be a contrarian. Figure out what the crowd is doing and then dare to do the opposite. See the future first.