There Is Always Room for Creativity

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Lynne Tye, an academic-turned-entrepreneur, writes about her personal journey en route to the successful launch of Key Values, a matching site for employers and engineers. Among many interesting points was the following:

Image courtesy of Pixabay.
... I gave myself homework to write down ideas every day, no matter how bad they were. In addition to writing down ideas, I also got in the habit of validating ideas to see if they were any good. Unfortunately, I ruled out each of them because I'd find out that someone else had already thought it before.

Then I had an incredibly important eureka moment.

Do not rule out ideas that there are already solutions for. I was driving, listening to a podcast of Laura Roeder talk about this and I almost had to pull over, it was such an a-ha moment for me. [bold and link in original]
This -- along with Tye's singular approach to matching employers with potential employees -- reminds me of criteria used to assess non-obviousness of inventions in patent law:
[O]bjective evidence of obviousness or nonobviousness MUST also be considered before reaching a conclusion on obviousness. Objective evidence (or secondary considerations as they are sometimes called) includes: (1) the commercial success of the invention; (2) whether the invention satisfied a long felt need in the industry; (3) failure of others to find a solution to the problem at hand; (4) unexpected results; (5) copying by others; (6) licensing by others; and (7) skepticism of experts. Not all of these secondary considerations of nonobviousness are of equal strength and persuasiveness. Long felt need in the industry when coupled with failure of others is quite strong, while commercial success might not be quite as useful as you think because the success in commerce could be potentially explained by marketing prowess and business acumen and not any particular technological advance. [minor edits]
In other words, if something is obvious, why isn't it being done already? Or, to return to Tye's story, if all the "solutions" to a problem aren't good solutions, might one's own insight add something new that will attract customers? None of the behemoths in Tye's field were asking the kinds of questions she was about what job- and employee- seekers were looking for. The fact that lots of people are in a business may make it seem, at first glance, like there is no way to get one's foot in the door. But sometimes, taking a thoughtful second look can pay off.

-- CAV

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