Scoping Sustainable Innovation

Day 58 Week 9 Q1  Monday, February 27, 2023

Okay, so you have determined that you really like innovating and are really good at it. Now the question arises, how long do you want to do this? I am not talking about retirement here as we move from one project to another, career to another, or even life to another (a metaphor, not a call to reincarnation, although I am not ruling it out).  I mean, if we are at our core creative outliers, we’re not about to simply stop having ideas, nor will we necessarily feel rewarded by the same successfully manifested set of insights, almost no matter how great they are.

Therefore, at a meta-level, do you imagine this particular innovation career or activity to be short-term or long-term? Is it a stepping stone to something else? Or is this one the final destination, if that is even knowable? We are speaking of scoping here. Is this trajectory a two-year stint, ten-year stint, or forever stint? It may not even be able to be determined, but if you are twenty or if you are seventy, you are not looking at the same trajectory. And I can assure you, for at least this involuntary innovator, that I have no fewer ideas at seventy than at twenty. In fact, I have more because there are directions I was heading in for years that are achieving fruition. There were many things I thought would be around the corner which took decades to become possible. Hence, I now find myself with a gigantic accumulation of ideas than ever before because the world is finally catching up. This is not a bad problem to have or a bad place to be, but it does require scoping to get my arms around the entirety of my dream set, which admittedly is a moving target as it is for all of us.

Scoping is getting your arms around an issue or a problem/opportunity. If there are ten good ideas on the table, and you think you have at most another thirty years of vitality and volition, can you only allocate three years to each of them? Of course not, because you already know that life and reality are nonlinear or even meta-linear (beyond linear). Still, you might want to acknowledge that you will want to try more after this one, as you have always felt this way even after achieving your best work (so far).

Therefore it is worth taking a shot at guessing a range of budget and time to allocate. For example, I think this will take at least two years to get off the ground and then at least another two years to stabilize its flight forward and then another year for a buffer. And how much money will be needed during this five-year period And how much help? What skill sets in addition to yours are needed? Assuming it will take some time to generate revenue, what are the startup costs and efforts? Can you get this rolling in a month for $100? Doubtful! How about ten months and $1000? Maybe if there are no other compensated team members in that time period.  Scope it! It takes longer to build a bridge than t design a web site!