Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Don't lose sight of the kid in you! A tip for Innovation

Well, it's been a while and the past month or two was quite hectic (hence the low number of posts to this blog). I completed my MBA final year exams and started on a new project distributing Tree Lucerne (also known as Tagasaste), see if you're curious about what we're doing.

Enough about me, let's talk about something fun, let's talk about the Super Soaker Water gun. You know, the water gun that really took the world by storm in the 1990s.

I remember it well, the soaker took water gun battles to a whole new level.  What's better than a really powerful water gun? And the soaker was, and still is, just that.  

One thing that you may not know about the soaker is that the guy who invented it is actually a real life rocket scientist with a degree in nuclear engineering. Yes, this is according to the August 2010 edition of Popular Mechanics. Lonnie Johnson invented the Super Soaker after he had an idea of a pressurized water gun that would be safe for children.

The idea came to him while he was working on a heat pump. 

What can we learn from this story? Alan Duggan of PM neatly extracts three lessons for entrepreneurs and innovators:

1. Be alert to possibilities - good ideas may enter our minds while doing something completely unrelated.

2. Success requires faith, staying power, and persistence - the Super Soaker was preceded by  many failed prototypes before achieving success. We see this trend with many successful people.

3. Never lose sight of the little kid inside of you - your childhood interests and dreams often provide valuable insight into your destiny. Sometimes we have to listen to the kid inside of us.

I think that the best ideas, innovators can have, are those that make you feel like a kid all over again. This certainly worked for Lonnie Johnson; the Super Soaker is estimated to have produced retail sales of more than 8 Billion ZAR.

What a cool story! Happy innovation. 

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