You are the product of exponential evolution.
Once upon a time, an idea executed many times over morphed into the reason why you are still alive; innovation. Simply put, I wouldn’t be here to write this, and you would not be here to read this if someone somewhere didn’t take an idea, spin it around and execute. If we all copied and executed the same idea, our species would have died off a long time ago.
In the Bronze Age, the life expectancy was a mere 26 years old. Even into the 18th century, Prussian people had an average lifespan of 24.7 years old. In 1900, the world average life expectancy was 31, fast-forward to 2014 we have jumped to a world average of 71.5! We are evolving at an ever growing pace, why? We survive on our ideas; we die with status-quo.
We are evolving at an ever growing pace, why? We survive on our ideas; we die with status-quo.
So why is this important to business? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported by JP Morgan Chase & Co. (see “Small Business Longevity” article), 48.8% of all small business started in 1995 made it to 5 years in existence. That number jumped to 51.1% for small businesses formed in 2010. Across the board, only 32.9% of companies make it after ten years of existence, and the number continues to drop after that. Overall small businesses fade with time.
While many of the reasons why small business drops off as the years move on could be attributed to buy-outs, financial hardships or CEO’s moving on to other adventures; one of the reasons is lack of innovation. Companies fail to pivot fast enough to meet demand or changes in its marketplace. While they have been able to establish a strong client base, most small businesses never last the test of time because they just become old.
For a company to become innovative, everyone in it needs to foster a culture of idea sharing. As Dovico CEO, Yves Doucet said in a recent Monday morning meeting shared on Facebook Live: “We evolved in two ways, by DNA or by stories. We tell a person a story, they tell someone else and so on. Each time that story evolves, the person adds their experience and reality to it; eventually, the idea has completely changed.” In business, there is no DNA. A culture of innovation relies on a constant flow of ideas that get passed around without any ego attached. Each approach, while not necessarily significant or executable may lead to someone thinking about something else. That evolved idea may be the pivot the company needs to prolong its success. When thoughts are withheld or dismissed because of ego or threat, then innovation is starved.
At Dovico, ideas are shared willingly among all employees. Recently, the company held an idea pitch event where anyone could pitch an idea that the company could use to move on. The event caused a stir of creative energy as many ideas were adopted into a new version of Timesheet software. Many Dovico teammates found confidence in the process as they felt like they were contributing. Even if there was no further consideration for their ideas, they were not judged or ignored. “It’s what we do here; we pitch ideas every day because they are gifted without intent, there is no obligation to act on them. Instead, each idea enables us to think ‘how can I use my art with this idea and make it even better?'” continued Yves on the Facebook Live meeting.
Life expectancy of anything is hinged on its ability to evolve. Survival of communities, human and company alike, is dependant on each member within it to contribute with not only with their skill but their ideas. Not every idea can be executed, but every executed idea had its root shared by one that wasn’t.
For 25 years, Dovico has been helping thousands of companies around the world to deliver successful projects on time and on budget with proven project time and cost-saving tools: dovico.com
Also published on Medium.