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How Do You Measure The True Success Of Innovation?

Greg’s recent post about Bloodhoundblog’s innovation contribution to the real estate industry created the typical debate over dinosaurs vs. Web 2.0.

However, there were several good points about the difference between innovation and success.

I’d like to argue that innovation is a component of success, as is failure.

Whether you’re skinning cats the 1.0 way, exploring the potential of a complete virtual realty solution, mixing a creative listing landing page with a direct mail campaign, or putting your referral relationships to full use, the simple fact that most of us are still left in the game to have these discussions is a small sign that we’re all successful in one manner or another.

It is hard to deny that the industry is rapidly changing, especially with regards to the way we leverage the web to communicate to our clients and colleagues.

By the time something has been proven, its already old news and can’t really be considered innovative.

What does innovation mean to me?

In order to have a productive conversation about the actual value of an innovative idea, I think it is important that we first agree on a common definition of innovation.

I hear words tossed around like Top Producer, high conversions, leads to loans….  which don’t mean much to me unless those are the results I’m expecting when I buy a product.

But to me, innovation is more of a way of life vs a business decision.  I’m always looking for ways to make something or someone better, without living in fear of failure.

I don’t need social proof from the masses to build my confidence.  Matter of fact, if everyone is already doing something well, then I’m even more motivated to find a different, more efficient way of accomplishing the same goal.

My loving and patient wife has to deal with these character traits every day.  And to make things worse on her, my 2 year old daughter is showing signs of following in her father’s patterns.  I couldn’t be more proud.

Either way, I just wasn’t designed to wait around on other people to prove that an innovative idea can be successful.  Maybe its because I focus on how I can make something successful for myself instead of wasting energy worrying about what other people think.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not an idiot.  Well, not all of the time, but I do try and learn from other people’s mistakes and achievements as well.

Have my innovative contributions to the real estate world been successful?  Yes, but not without some major scars and sacrifices that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Why the rant?  Because I love beating a dead horse.

I also wanted to give some encouragement to the other innovators on this blog who may be tempted to feel like they have to prove their ideas to the “critical mass of widespread adoption” followers in order to be recognized as a success.

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  • 7 comments

    7 Comments so far

    1. Jessica Horton June 26th, 2009 6:41 am

      “But to me, innovation is more of a way of life vs a business decision. I’m always looking for ways to make something or someone better, without living in fear of failure.”

      I love it all. Online. Offline. Pick up the line. Line’em up and let me skin some cats. Purrrr.

    2. Mark Green June 26th, 2009 6:45 am

      I think Tiger Woods puts it best…

      If you ain’t gettin’ better, you’re gettin’ worse.

    3. Scott Schang June 26th, 2009 10:01 am

      “I also wanted to give some encouragement to the other innovators on this blog who may be tempted to feel like they have to prove their ideas to the “critical mass of widespread adoption” followers in order to be recognized as a success.”

      My experience has been that innovation is sort of what happens when the smoke clears and you look around and your the last one in the room.

      For me, innovation was the one exception to a friggin boatload of ideas that didn’t work. It’s the “last man standing” in a shin whacking competition (i love that commercial).

      Once again Mark, your insight Rocks!

    4. Jeff Brown June 26th, 2009 11:07 am

      Wow, I’m an innovator! And all this time I’ve copped to being ‘Japan’ — rarely an original idea, but make your idea mine in my own method of execution and tweaks. :)

      You remind me of an agent many moons ago (though he had hair back then) who also had more huevos than was safe. :) You’re interested in results, the only thing, in the big picture, that matters a whit. Great stuff, Mark.

    5. [...] How Do You Measure The True Success Of Innovation? – The infamous Mark Madsen talks about always striving to find better ways of doing things (even if the way you and everyone else is doing is currently working). He is not a firm believer in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theory. [...]

    6. Mark Madsen June 26th, 2009 6:37 pm

      Jessica – “Pick up the line – Thanks, Jessica – I’m going to use that.

      Mark – you’re right about that

      Scott – we’ve got to talk again about your killer webinar program.

      Jeff – “make your idea mine in my own method of execution and tweaks” yep, couldn’t have said it better

    7. [...] I believe success is merely a component of innovation, I also agree with the people who need to see proof of results in order to determine a true measure [...]