Too often individuals and businesses alike look at a glass only as half full. By this we mean that when modern issues throw out a challenge some people see it only as a threat to how things have always been done. But if you think about it, these challenges are what spark progress and keep our human way of life improving. When cities run out of room people get creative and learn to build taller rather than wider. As fossil fuels become increasingly scarce innovators are starting to focus on hybrids, electric vehicles and bio fuel technologies. Similarly, we all need to learn to see climate change and other environmental concerns as a new market to be conquered, a place to innovate and create new products and services, boosting our businesses to new heights.
History Moves Forward Transportation and climate change are at the crux of environmental conversations today. Some of the wealthiest people in history have made their family fortunes in fields of transportation; they did this by financing innovation. The Rockefellers built a future on petroleum, Carnegie built a legacy on steel, and Ford created an entire era with his automobiles. As one entrepreneur recently put it, modern businesses must find a way to create new businesses out of modern needs. When people needed better transportation, Ford invented the car. Now, if people need to get somewhere without burning fossil fuels, companies need to make that happen. As our world progresses there will always be new problems to solve, and an effective company will change, grow and find solutions to those problems that are financially lucrative.
Become and Innovator and Seize the Future One of the keys to longevity in business is to seize the future and deliver what it needs. To embrace the future a company must remember the following:
Keep Your Finger on the Pulse. A thriving company is aware of what is happening in the world and of their own role in events and history. Such a company must be continually aware of trends in social interest, but also in governmental regulation, environmental issues, financial situations and global trends. Today, this means recognizing the problems with our climate as relate to pollution and global warming. It means understanding that consumers are looking for responsible companies to step in and solve problems.
Look for an Opening. When a company understands the current climate and needs of people, governments and the environment they can start to look for opportunities. This means looking for gaps in services or filling slots that other companies are ignoring in preference of doing things the way that they have always done them.
Do Not Become Complacent. This last point was important; too many people and companies become complacent, doing things the way that they have always done them out of convenience, uncertainty or lack of ingenuity. A stagnant business will fail; to be successful every business must look for opportunities for growth.
Take Action. Once a company understands the current situations, globally and environmentally, and identifies ways that they can make a difference they must take action. An effective company innovates early, becoming a leader much as Apple led the PC revolution in its early years, and then the smart phone and personal entertainment industry in later years. Apple saw an opportunity and they grabbed it, coming to market early with exciting, innovative products.
Move on to a New Tomorrow To be an effective innovator requires finding one’s spot and entering the market early, but also having an ability to adapt quickly to changing states of the art. Today, opportunities for innovation exist in a variety of areas, specifically those that relate to climate issues. We need companies to innovate in developing affordable, clean energy and transportation systems. We need companies to innovate in fields of waste management and waste reduction. We need companies who can find ways to allow humans to maintain their desired standard of living without further damaging the environment.