Sustainable Innovator 

Day 54 Week 8 Q1  Thursday, February 23, 2023

We have made it through many lessons about many aspects of moving from a creative outlier to an innovator, and now it is time to become a sustainable innovator. Once you become an innovator for the first time and experience manifesting an insight and getting it adopted, it is hard to do anything else. The act of requited creation is purposeful and meaningful. It contributes to your identity as a creative being. Yes, you were already a creative outlier, which is a wonderful thing to be, but advancing to become an innovator is even better because there is now the hope of making this a repeatable and, therefore, possibly monetizing activity.

It is not that money becomes your god; it is that the act of creating costs money, and until your creation can pay for itself, you might have to stop doing it. Being creative is really great. Having to stop being creative is really terrible.  Once you have experienced the joy of creating tangible realizations of your insights, it contributes to your identity most positively. To do this sustainably means you can afford to keep this as a fairly permanent part of your identity. Once you can be rewarded instead of punished for being a creative outlier, life becomes more satisfactory. 

Your hobby or proclivity becomes your life, and then you are less like working and more like being yourself. You can spend more of your time in flow, which increases longevity, lowers stress, and gives more meaning and purpose, and now the stakes are higher because you do not want to let go of what you achieved. You want it to be more sustainable.

The path to sustainability requires being more conscious of what you are doing and how you do it, highlighting the need to manage and not only extemporaneously improvise. Can innovation be managed? Of course, it can, but it is more sustainable if you manage your creativity and innovation than others. The reason is you may want to create more degrees of freedom for yourself than others. If you work for someone who is also creative and wants to support your creativity and innovation, that too can work out well, but often creative outliers find themselves working for those less creative than themselves.   

Suppose you can find a creative gig with a supportive, nourishing boss working in an innovation culture. In that case, that is great. I feel fortunate to have personally experienced this for much of my professional life. Not every creative person is so lucky. This is why, eventually, many creative outliers may have to manage themselves if they are to reach their potential as sustainable innovators.

And this means you need to spend significant energy on more than creating and manifesting your insights. Now you must invest energy in communicating, scheduling, budgeting and selling. In short, you have to become a business entity if you are to be a sustainable innovator.