Sustainable Innovation Arc Part 2

Day 160 Week 23 Q2 Saturday, June 10, 2023

Once you have gained traction to protect emergence from the slipping and sliding phase, you can begin to worry about scalability. Scalability is the property of an enterprise to grow by becoming more emotionally relevant to increasingly large numbers of end-user customers.  In other words, before you can become rich, you must first become prosperous; before you become prosperous, you must be able to support yourself. This applies to individuals, and it applies to businesses as well. An example of scalability would be you have 100 customers who want what you have to offer, and say 50 of them have actually paid you for it. Now let’s see if there are 10 or 100 fold more customers who would also like to pay you. Then you would have between a thousand and 10,000 people embracing your idea meaningfully by actually paying for it. You could be said you have scaled up from 100 to 1000 or 10,000 customers. Let’s say the initial hundred customers did not generate enough revenue to support the business but the thousand good. Then you would be working on the process of scaling. This is what scalability is about. When a multinational firm like Apple can convince 1000,000,000 people to buy their phone from Apple, that is some serious scaling.

Taking it down many notches, let’s say you are an artist and you painted a painting, and somebody bought it for what you felt was a reasonable amount of money. But what if you really needed to make ten times that much money? If there are 168 hours in a week and it takes you 48 hours to make each painting, you cannot scale up to 10 times so much because there aren’t enough hours in the week. This is an exercise that is not scalable. Not all wonderful things are scalable. Some are one-shot ideals. If you are shooting for scalability, one-shot deals are about as satisfying as one-night stands, which is not very satisfying if your goal is to have a long-term relationship.

Being a sustainable innovator is a long-term relationship. This is what sustainable means. It does not mean a flash in the pan. Suppose you come up with ideas that cannot be replicated in a reasonable amount of time using reasonable amounts of resources. In that case, they are not scalable; therefore, you will not become sustainable in applying that idea.  A sustainable innovator, who began as a creative outlier somewhere along the line, had to create a platform. Platforms can take many forms. They can be companies, websites, or mailing lists, but they all have something to do with scalability and purpose, built precisely to accomplish that goal. If you are a creative outlier wanting to become a sustainable innovator, start designing and creating your platform.