Why it’s ok to reinvent the wheel

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we never developed new ideas or new ways of doing things? We’d be right back in the pre-historic ages with no fire, tools or clothing. But even then, there were some groups who didn’t catch on. It’s hardly surprising that they weren’t the one that survived and evolved.

When the Orville brothers and others of that time first talked about flying vehicles, most people thought they were mad or that it simply couldn’t be done. People were hesitant about travelling in newfangled automobiles and many were terrified to the point of hysteria of the idea of using electricity in their homes.

Whenever radically new ideas challenge our way of thinking, we naturally resist them. That’s quite normal and usually a good thing. Accepting things without question can sometimes be dangerous. For example, if someone told you that it was safe to swim in any Northern Territory river, you wouldn’t just dive in; you’d be asking questions about crocodiles and water levels first.

Some people become too resistant to change, though, and that’s also a problem (especially in organisations) as that can stifle invention and innovation.

The visionaries

These are the people with the almost uncanny ability to see how things can be better in the future. People who can take an existing idea and apply it in a new way or completely turn it on its head. They are the ones who have learned the value of reinventing the wheel.

Think about how many times in history the wheel has been reinvented. It is believed to have first been used in ancient ceramics as a potter’s wheel. It took several more centuries and the development of appropriate tools and axle designs for it to become practical for transport use. Since then it has resurfaced in infinite ways and paved the way for other technologies such as clocks, windmills and electric fans to name a few. These exist now because somebody had the vision to take the humble wheel and find a new use for it.

Challenging the norm

Not all of us are going to be the Edison’s or Marconi’s of our time, but we can all strive to find better ways to do the things around us. We don’t have to be stuck with beliefs, routines or work practices just because those around us have always done things that way. It is up to us to question why things occur in a certain way and to see if there are potential options for improvement. We can be the game-changers.

We can do this on a personal, community or global level, depending on our interests and passions. Each of us has the power to create something that has never existed before.

Look around you and see if you can spot any areas that can be improved or any niches that haven’t been catered for and have a go at doing something about it.

Here are some ideas to inspire you:
·      Is there a procedure at work that is overly complicated or time-consuming? If so, find out when was it first used and why? You might find that circumstances have changed and the procedure needs to be updated or replaced. You could be the person to write the new procedure and facilitate its implementation.
·      Do you have a skill or hobby you are passionate about? Is there some way you can use it to bring something new into the world?
·      Maybe you can see a need in your community that is not being addressed? There could be too much dumped rubbish or a lack of support for people with certain needs. Instead of waiting for someone else to deal with it, why not take the initiative yourself?

It doesn’t matter whether you make changes that only you know about or ones you broadcast to the world. We all can create something unique. We are all designers, engineers, artists, authors, inventors, innovators and visionaries (even if we don’t know it yet).

Acting on these ideas is very empowering and helps us not only to gain self-confidence but also to experience the pride and joy of giving something back to the world.

What will your contribution be?

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Someone who is always on the lookout for ways she can add value to the world around her is Tessa Court. Tessa is the founder and CEO of the award-winning SaaS company, IntelligenceBank. She has been named as one of Australia’s Most Powerful Women in Technology by Women’s Agenda, she is a member of the Victorian Government's Technology Expert Panel and has held company director positions at various IT companies.

Hear how Tessa takes on challenges and turns them into successful ventures in her in-depth podcast interview on The Mentor List. Her positive attitude and ability to look beyond the norm are inspirational. After hearing Tessa, you’ll, no doubt, be looking for ways to reinvent the wheels around you, too.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List. www.mentorlist.com.au

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