Innovation Monetization

Day 75 Week 11 Q1  Thursday, March 16, 2023

The largest difference between a Creative Outlier and an Innovator is MONEY. This is because innovators, by at least my definition, in some way end up with people who have adopted their insights. My very simplest definition of innovation is applied insight. If you do not have insight, it is not an innovation. According to the US Patent Examiner’s Manual, to be granted a patent, an invention has to be unique, nonobvious and have utility. If the insight is never applied, it is not an innovation. Applied Insight is my definition of Innovation. But if it is applied and never monetized, then it is not sustainable. Someone has to pay something for this innovation.

Creative outliers frequently never get to this point. As the creative process can be rewarding on its own and is frequently performed involuntarily, oftentimes, there is no driving need for monetization. And if there are other revenue sources to subsidize the creative efforts, then monetization may never enter into the innovation equation. But if an innovative activity does earn its own way, it does not have to stop and then can become sustainable, at least for a while.

One’s chances of success in a business enterprise are dramatically increased through planning and management. Asking the what-if questions and trying to determine costs and a business model can eliminate many dead-end exercises. 

If you want to be an innovator and are neither a trust fund baby nor have other means not to worry about paying the bills, then yes, you do have to worry about monetization. Yes, I know most creative processes have nothing at all to do with money, and I, too, have been guilty of telling myself this for years. But the bottom line is things that are not monetized are generally not sustainable.

Most authors earn in living in other ways than writing.  Most artists and musicians earn at least some portion of their income teaching. And most inventors work for companies that pay them to invent. And certainly, there can be innovation involved. But suppose you want to ensure that you can keep innovating without having to do something else to pay the bills. In that case, it is time to begin to think of yourself as a business entity and a creative entity. 

Some portion of your creativity must be applied to monetization if you would like it to be self-sustaining. There is much room to be creative in business processes and legally. When lawyers, accountants, bankers and other fiduciaries are said to be creative, one imagines they are doing something creative and also illegal. There is no reason an artist, musician or entrepreneur can not be creative to break into the market and stay there. And yes, it is even possible this will happen accidentally, but I would not count on it.

Innovation Monetization need not be looked down upon as many creative outliers do. Innovation Monetization may be the very act that provides the most freedom to create.