Is it Better to be Effective or Original?

By Jayvon Howard

[Bright orange lights that are out focus and blurry appearing as globes floating indistinct against a dark background.]

[Bright orange lights that are out focus and blurry appearing as globes floating indistinct against a dark background.]

It can be challenging and incredibly complex to generate an idea that is profound, unique and purely extraordinary. Our lives may be filled with fantasies of us inventing a new product that has never been seen before, solving world hunger and bringing world peace, to be one of the special chosen few who can see what no others can see.

When starting a business or designing a concept it can be tempting to focus on the prestige and the glorified results of being the first, or being most creative. But we must follow the practiced principles that will lead us towards success.

The question is, if you do the vision of a new future and of new opportunities, do you have the skills to bring it out of the dark recesses of your mind into the light? We all crave a piece of the truly exceptional but most of us fail to see our visions come into fruition without the right discipline, knowledge or support to make those dreams a reality.

So, what is the difference between being effective and original? Why does it matter? Being original is being highly specific, unique and innovative and often difficult to replicate. Being effective takes advantage of business practices, marketing strategies, networking and development opportunities regardless how original the product or design may be.

Here are couple reasons why being effective is important:

1.     Lightning in a bottle

This does not mean to abandon you dreams, or innovations but to understand that it is truly tricky to develop something new and even more so challenging to deliver it to a market that is entrenched valuing what is traditional or familiar above all else. Having a Mark Zuckerberg breakthrough that conquers the known world is incredibly rare. Fire, the wheel, agricultural farming, the computer and the internet are examples of inventions that have completely changed the course of human history. If your vision is to create a product that joins those ranks…that’s great, but the pressures and responsibilities of daily life aren’t going to wait for that moment of ‘EUREKA.’
2.     Profitability and Marketing

We cannot always hope to have the space to be both profitable and original. The curse of originality, is it’s often in the timing. Humans are creatures of habit and we often do not enjoy change as much as we think that we do. Televisions shows that dominate are about crime or drama, feature films are all super-being wars and those that aren’t are remakes of old classics. Whenever social media such as Facebook or Snapchat changes their primary functions and layouts, there is often an immediate backlash from users. Can your concept show us that the unfamiliar isn’t always scary?

Are you able to devote the long hours and resources into reassuring and educating the public that this is something they can celebrate?  Ask yourself some questions: Is this product/concept/design something that my target market wants or needs right now in this moment in time? How can I communicate in a way that can be understood by everyone from all walks of life? What available resources do I have so that they may retrieve it from me easily? Does this market even have the capacity to do so?
3.     Scaling and Growth

Although, passion is incredibly significant when starting a new business or continuing the legacy of a veteran company, passion is not a main selling point when seeking investment opportunities. Investors want reassurance that their money will be safeguarded and will ultimately produce a worthy profit. This requires facts, figures and a hard look at the fatal flaws of a given proposal. Not every original idea will yield any tangible return of investment right away. This could include physical funds or even recognition from the public. This can inhibit the growth of your company and the ability to share ideas and innovations as quickly. Customers and clients are more likely to be attracted to a company that is consistent and there is an immediacy in the power of persuading them to take a chance on your product. It’s best to show, rather than tell what your business can provide, this is the difference between a business that stalls out and one that becomes a booming reality.

It’s important to remember that though you may have a truly remarkable idea to present to the world, the methodology does not change. We must still work as efficiently as possible to produce the high quality work and incorporate methods that will get your business moving today, so you may innovate tomorrow. We think that familiarity breeds contempt, when in many ways it breeds comfort more than anything else.

Being effective and original are not mutually exclusive, taking advantage of each appropriately presents us with opportunity to rise higher than we ever have before.