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Riding The Storm Of Scepticism And Apathy For Innovators, Entrepreneurs And Pioneers

Written by: David Paul Jacobs, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

If you’ve ever had a good idea or vision for a new service, product or better way of doing something, you will likely be familiar with the “Not Invented Here” syndrome: the pushback, the blank faces and the virulently anti-your-idea comments. Well, this reaction is par for the course, you’d better expect it … hang in there, it will come good if it’s a genuinely high-quality piece of progress you’re proposing, and you manage to ‘stay with it’. Let me explain how to manage these typical reactions, to everybody’s advantage, and especially yours! Remember, the greater your storm, the brighter your rainbow.

Staying With It


I’m going to focus here on the importance of belief, perseverance and resilience for anyone pioneering a new product or service. In the 1980s I discovered an ability for taking success rates and value delivered from business IT projects to a much higher level than was typically the case. In the 1990s I wrote up these ideas and formed them into what is now called Business Value Maximisation Framework (BVMF®). For 28 years I had blank faces and people saying: “You don’t want to do that” or “It won’t work”. And of course, thankfully, I had the occasional bit of positivity and encouragement from those with a decent bit of insight and brainpower ‒ God bless ‘em! In fact, BVMF® was EXACTLY what was needed as business IT projects were failing at a huge rate (and still do). Then, as we went from 2020 into early 2021, the whole paradigm changed. I started hearing “You know that framework of yours, it’s not bad, can I/we have a look?” ‒ “I’ve been trying to tell you that for 28 years!” I thought to myself but was nevertheless grateful my message was finally getting across.


A Better Future


BVMF® is now taking off I am pleased and proud to say. I was near paranoid for those 28 years that somebody else would zoom past me. But they didn’t. In some ways the world moves increasingly fast, and yet, in other respects, it moves surprisingly slowly. People can take a long time to ‘get’ a few simple messages. I had read Sir James Dyson’s autobiography and seen how brutally rude people (especially Hoover and Electrolux) were to him when he conceived a whole new (quantum leap) way for a vacuum cleaner to work. There are always those who have a vested interest in the status quo technology or current method for a product or service. Don’t let that put you off! Here’s the big idea for you – the better your idea/proposal for a new product/service/method the more virulent the pushback comments you will get. In fact, you will know how good your idea is by the virulence of the pushback! I can’t guarantee you any particular result as I don’t know what you’ve got but I can tell you my story and how closely it aligns with what I’ve read and learnt about the experiences of other inventors, pioneers, entrepreneurs and innovators.


Belief Rocks


Stay with it if you believe in your idea or proposition (your extensive self-belief will be crucial). Also, bear in mind that, although collaboration can be a good thing, if you are insightful enough to be the leader in a field (maybe you have conceived a quantum leap forward in a technology or new service as Sir James Dyson did) you may find others are just not up with you. I looked (naively?) for a collaborator for many years to help me get BVMF® off the ground but found no one who would/could/did. Now BVMF® is rolling out, I have met a superb collaborator, but that’s a different story, another good story I am delighted to say. I also have accrued plenty of excellent disciples and complementary collaborators along the way who are kindly helping me to bring much better project success rates and degrees of success to business IT projects (see www.DoITBetterConsortium.co.uk).


Persistence Pays


So, what else can you do to have your idea become a success apart from being aware of ‘The Pushback Effect’ and that you may need to stay with it for years, even decades? Well, I’ll come back to this subject in future articles but for now please read a bit more here on the central themes I want to focus on today: persistence, belief and resilience.


It’s almost apocryphal (but not quite) but Colonel Sanders offered his chicken recipe to about 1,000 restaurants before he found one that would give it a try. Tony Robbins says people say they have tried something a hundred times to no avail, but actually they’ve tried it only a few dozen times. All the success experts say persistence is the key, and they are right. I kept going for 28 years because I believed what I had was valuable, I enjoyed creating it and thought I was good at it. Why wouldn’t I keep going? A couple of nice (and smart) people I met at a conference last year in London said I was ‘too early’ with my business value maximisation framework in the 1990s and I really appreciated those comments because it seemed they were right (even though experiencing 25+ years of doubt is pretty painful). At some points along the way, I had thought maybe I was actually too late and, in any case, suffered from doubt with so many people piling in with their derogatory or discouraging comments. Some of those people genuinely thought they were helping but, as has been said, nobody knows your idea, your market and your context as well as YOU. Tough and often lonely I am sorry to say, but true. So, here we are in 2023 and my conception is becoming a reality. I just wanted to help organisations understand IT value, what it consists of and how to optimise it, and here I am doing it (finally). Hooray.


You can read about BVMF® and my journey with it at www.maximum-value.co.uk. In future articles, if readers are keen (do let me know), I will cover a few of the basic principles of BVMF® and showcase some of the key models and techniques it provides. These do not just apply to business-related IT, although, of course, in any case, business IT is becoming hugely more prevalent in our home and work life as every day passes. Although I designed BVMF® specifically to boost business IT projects, a good 70% of it works for non-business IT projects (for example scientific, medical, aerospace, etc.) and ditto for projects that are not IT-related at all.


Future Articles


Being a bit of a polymath, I have a few other ideas up my sleeve for improving life, career, etc that I have had gestating for a few years and I will also be writing about these in my forthcoming Brainz articles. I coach and mentor life and career skills using my (near) encyclopaedic knowledge of most of the well (and lesser) known success/leadership experts’ assertions. And, hey, surprise surprise, I have devised quite a few original models and techniques of my own. I’d like to present some of the key points of those to you in future articles. I’ll cover subjects like leadership, confidence, innovation, career progression, collaboration, networking and resilience. My imminently next article will extend the themes I’ve discussed above and cover a few of the subtler less obvious angles.


Courage With Care Counts


Finally, a word of caution. When pioneering, I suggest you do not be ashamed of your courage, but, be careful. Until quite recently I did not put my business value maximisation credentials on my cv (not fully). You tell me – was that right? I was warned not to put it on when I sought ‘day job’ work to pay my mortgage and look after my family while my favoured project took off. I saw plenty of evidence of the sagacity of that advice… the balance is fine, crucial and knotty. I’ll also in future cover key points on getting hired into ‘day job’ work with pioneering in the background as that can be a can of worms.


You can see my eclectic background and some of my credentials listed at www.davidpjacobs.co.uk, read about BVMF® at www.maximum-value.co.uk and see an overview of my cooperative superior business IT services organisation at www.DoITBetterConsortium.co.uk.


I look forward to your feedback, questions and requests. I wish you very well and, crucially, hope I can contribute to your success over the next few months.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

David Paul Jacobs, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

David Jacobs is a life/career coach/mentor and thought leading business analyst/project leader. As director of MaxVal Consultancy Ltd in the UK, he is author of Business Value Maximisation Framework (BVMF®) which arose from his 30 year research and development programme into IT business value/success maximisation. On the back of this and a number of other successful entrepreneurial projects David is authoring, coaching and mentoring in life skills, career progression and effective business management. David has a polymathic 'cv' which includes a parallel background in contemporary performing arts. David's mission is to save others time in learning key lessons he has learnt, and, to entertain!

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