As I spend time with family and enjoy the holiday, in my spare thoughts, I think about how the initial spark of much of my work started this time six years ago. I was going to build a personal website for a relative as a Christmas gift. Of course, I tried to find something already in the market. The problem was there was not a service with all the functionality I needed – a multi-dimensional resume, portfolio, online identity, so my solution was to build a personal website platform. Within a month, I had a 10-page business plan (which approached 100 pages by the end of the year). Within three months, I had a demonstrable concept. For the first couple of years, I was working fourteen-hour days developing, writing, and building awareness of this new concept.
I think the lesson is new innovative concepts do not require applying the Scientific Method, but can come from simply recognizing an opportunity and working extremely hard to seize it.
To differentiate the personal website platform I was constructing, I first conceived Skills-Based Approach℠ – a methodology centered on the development of a skill set throughout education, higher education, and a career. A personal website supports each of the stages. Skills are now becoming a focal point of education and higher education reform and policy.
The last two years I have been laser focused in applying Skills-Based Approach as standalone website and mobile applications. This year I built two supporting apps: Skills Label℠ and Skill Syllabi℠. In addition, I have assembled a considerable following in social media, a blog, and given webinars and presentations on the micro (for individuals) and macro (for community and workforce development) benefits of Skills-Based Approach.
I think the lesson is sometimes coming up with new ideas has a snowball effect. Once you get past the initial inertia (something like writer’s block), it becomes easier to come up with new ideas and processes. Sometimes you have enough ideas where you must choose which ones to allocate your time and resources.
I had much of my vision established in these two concepts and a personal branding concept within three years. For the ensuing three years, I have continued to evolve the underlying foundation of these core concepts. I become animated when I talk about my vision; I am passionate about my vision.
I think the lesson is it takes considerable to time to come up with a true vision. (This is my one argument against a serial entrepreneur and my frustration in competing against a large company.) Sometimes you add concepts that add breadth, sometimes you add ideas that add depth to your vision. There is nothing wrong in being repetitive with your core premises; it shows you have conviction.