Sophie Charboneau

Startup Success Means Observing the The Box

I’ve always considered myself creative. As a kid, I would spend my days reading, coloring, painting or writing. As I got older and faced problems that required a different way of thinking, I’ve always been able to think outside of the box and solve them confidently.

However, when it comes to my professional career and coming up with creative ideas that could be valuable to the organization or company, I’m always a tad more hesitant.

In fact, I would say that being a tad bit hesitant should be considered an understatement. It seems that all creative juices seem to freeze and all I can think about is going by the book and not straying from what I was taught.

But, as we all know, the ideas that impact the media, culture or our world, aren’t made by following the rules and going by the book. They are those crazy ideas that people come up with. Ideas that seem absolutely absurd, but might just work.

Though there are those people that wake up one day with wild-but-society-changing ideas in their head, there are also people like me who have no idea where to even start.

The Nieman Report, “Mastering the art of disruptive innovation in journalism,” informed me about disruptive innovations. The report talked about how people who came up with Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post saw what people wanted and what other organizations lacked, and gave the consumers what they wanted.

This changed my perspective. I’ve never really seen organizations like Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post in that type of light. Those organizations were smart. They didn’t think outside of the box; in fact, they were never even in the box. They just observed from the outside and figured out a new audience that wanted something for them. That’s all they needed to do to be successful.

The viewpoint I always had when it came to companies like BuzzFeed was, “Wow, they were smart how did they think of that?” I never knew that they were simply solving the problems that other organizations failed to address.

Though the Nieman Report was highly influential, Paul Graham ’s,”How To Get Start-Up Ideas” I thought provided a more direct way on how to get great startup ideas.

Graham focuses on problems. In the article, he mentions for a startup product to truly be successful, people don’t just need it because they want it, people need it because they need it now.

It made me analyze all the times I drove to target because my iPhone charger broke and I NEEDED to get another cord as soon as possible because I needed to charge my phone. And surprise, surprise, another product that I absolutely need is my phone. It’s all a chain of ideas planted into our heads by businesses that we need their product now.

I think that my ticket to success when it comes to professional and creative thinking is to not think outside of the box. It’s to look from the outside in and pick up on the urgent problems that other organizations failed to address or haven’t gotten around to fixing yet.

And with that newfound knowledge, I can’t wait to see what my professional career has in store for me.


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