The people and organisations who will be truly successful in the 21st century will not be those who develop a slightly better product or service than what already exists or the next best dating or social media App, but those who look at their world and ask the question “what is broken and how can I fix it.”
When Sebastian Thrun, the founder of Google X Lab, Google’s not so secret innovations unit; designed the self-driving car he was not trying to build a better car, but rather trying to answers the question “how can I end road fatalities?” Sebastian lost his best friend in a car accident when he was 18-years old. This had a deep and profound impact on him so he set out on a quest to save a million lives every year (According to the WHO a million people die each year as a result of road fatalities). For Sebastian the solution was not an incrementally better car, but a radical new concept in mobility.
If you want to build competitive advantage for yourself or your organisation’s, ask the question: “What problem do I want to solve?” Then once you have identified the problem, be it big or small, embark on a quest to make a meaningful difference in the world you influence.
Dean van Leeuwen is the author of the book Quest: Competitive Advantage and the Art of Leadership in the 21st Century now available from Amazon