The PEP model of successful entrepreneurs and innovators

  • P - assion: Successful innovators are passionate about the problem they are trying to solve and will share the passion with everyone.
  • E - xperience: Innovators have experience with the problem they are solving, yielding valuable insight and knowledge.
  • P - ersistence: Growing a business takes persistence. It takes someone willing to push uphill to make it happen.
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Innovators don't take more risk

Research has shown that innovators and entrepreneurs don't take more risk than the average person. However, they are more comfortable making decisions in uncertainty.

They have a set of skills that allows them to navigate in uncertainty. These skills can be learned and practised by anyone to improve their innovation skills.

  • Risk is when the factors that determine success or failure are out of your control, but the odds of success are known.
  • Uncertainty is when the factors that determine success or failure are not out of your control but are simply unknown. It is playing a game that you do not entirely know the rules of.

Risk analysis is a rational and calculation-driven process, while uncertainty triggers the fight-or-flight response. Innovators don't ignore risk. They are able to maintain their analytical capabilities in the face of uncertainty.

Uncertainty and change can create opportunity and a need for innovation.

The pandemic has revealed many problems that are ripe for innovative solutions. Practices that were until recently on the fringe of acceptance are now accepted by mainstream society, such as telehealth, food delivery, e-sports, and online education.

  • Delivery skills. Skills include quantitative analysis, planning, detail-oriented implementation, disciplined execution.
  • Discovery skills. Theses skills are more involved in developing ideas and managing uncertain situations. It includes the ability to draw connections between ideas, questioning assumptions and the status quo, understanding a problem before trying to solve it, systematic experimentation, the ability to network and broaden a set of relationships. For innovation, discovery must come before delivery.

These skills can be learned through a combination of guidance, practice, and experience.

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Context trumps technology
  • When it comes to youth-led social innovation, how much a project is tech dependent is usually related to where the innovator comes from (many communities around the world have little or no access to tech in general).
  • This has a direct impact of the type of innovative solutions a young person will be able to create. This also influences their chances to appear "exciting" in the eyes of possible investors.
  • Low-tech projects can undoubtedly still be mind blowing.

3 defining characteristics of youth-led social innovation

Tesla’s innovation strategy

Tesla’s innovation strategy offers lasting lessons for any innovator, especially in terms of

  • how to win support for an idea and
  • how to bring new technologies to the market.

Lessons from Tesla's Approach to Innovation

Invention and innovation
  • Invention is the creation of a product or introduction of a process for the first time.
  • Innovation is when someone improves on or makes a significant contribution to an existing product, process or service.

Steve Jobs' iPod is an example of great innovation. The iPod was not the first portable music device, neither the first device to put hundreds of songs in your pocket. What made Apple innovative was that it combined elements in a single device.

The Difference Between "Invention" and "Innovation"

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