The setting sun is nearly blinding, but you’re still upbeat. You’re driving home from work on Friday. Your hair is being tousled as you cut through the turns in your favorite convertible listening to your iPod. You grab your smartphone to confirm your dinner reservations. And then you take a moment to thank Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Steve Jobs. Wait?! Thank who? For what? Well, why shouldn’t you be grateful to three people that drastically advanced our society and drastically changed your world?
Edison, Ford, and Jobs’s out-of-the-box entrepreneurialism has positively impacted their industries, you, and well . . . everyone else in their path. For instance, your car, desk-lamp, computer, CD (and DVD) player are just a few consequences of “Out-of-the-Box Entrepreneurialism” (OBE) at work.
“Out-of-the-box entrepreneurialism” is a combination of radical thinking and passionate application. This 1-2 punch is essential in fulfilling your purpose. Just as important, it creates a positive impact on your industry, those around you, and those in your wake. OBE engages a thinking perspective that deliberately expands ideas beyond current processes and purposes. It challenges the formalistic structures of hierarchies and asks for more. It engages an application technique that deliberately perseveres to succeed despite nonexistent channels. It utilizes a “can’t quit” mentality while pushing through failure upon failure. It is only for the quick-minded and strong at heart.
Edison’s constant drive to market inventions for commercial application lead to the phonograph (and subsequently the radio, the tape recorder, CD, and iPod), the incandescent light bulb (and subsequently fiber-optics, LED lighting, and tanning beds), and the automobile (Edison encouraged his employee Henry Ford to experiment with gas engines). Edison did not look across his competition to emulate their tactics. He was deliberate in his creation of the radical. He passionately put his ideas to the test and we should thank him.
Ford’s radical thinking changed two industries in one fell swoop. He purposed to achieve a car manufacturing process that allowed every person in America to own a car. And he did. Ford focused his time and energy on low cost automobiles (with a little encouragement and support from Mr. Edison). He didn’t look to Chrysler or Cadillac to complete this task. He decided that current offerings were remarkably deficient and set out to create a valuable offering for those around him. Next time you jump in your gasoline powered car, and not your horse-drawn buggy, give Mr. Ford a little appreciation.
Jobs’s unending innovative pursuits have altered nations. Placing the fully-enclosed, personal-size home computer in front of nearly every human being in the world has opened communication, increased productivity, and created instant thousand-mile friends. Jobs knew that his ideas could change the landscape of his culture. He combined his famed creativity with an unbridled passion and has given every member of the global community something worthy of adulation.
These large-scale impacts aren’t the only changes that give OBE an integral place in your world. When you, as an OBE’er, hit the streets to change the world, you make little positive impacts on everyone you come in contact with. Your excitement for an incubating initiative can be seen by others and is contagious. Discussing your ground breaking plans with others inspires them to follow their dreams. Your precise action-steps motivates you to keep creating while giving others value. Your need for team members gives others a chance to be a part of something greater than themselves.
The combined potential energy you created by cutting against the grain of formalistic structure and mediocrity has just propelled a change in society that only few could believe. All this from your radical thinking applied passionately. Continue on the path of out-of-the-box entrepreneurialism and we’ll soon be thanking you.