The world of business often focuses on tried and true ideas. In a field that’s often characterized as risk-averse, this can make a good deal of sense — if something’s worked in the past, the thinking goes, it’s likely to be viable in the future as well. However, the history of business is also peppered with examples of innovative thinking that has changed the field as a whole and, oftentimes, the world. To better understand the power of innovative thinking as it relates to business, we’ve turned to the work of Jesse Willms. The eCommerce entrepreneur has built a successful career on his ability to identify new business ideas.
Building a foundation
In order to innovate in business, it’s often necessary to understand where the field has previously been. When a person knows the existing norms in a field, they are better equipped to move beyond them and bring new direction to the space. Without this understanding, however, an individual may not know what mistakes have been made in the past by those who’ve engaged in their own forms of innovation. This can be costly since repeating the mistakes of the past can often cause a person to stagnate in their work and fail to reach their lofty goals.
In practice, this often plays out through a concerted effort to study business as it has previously been conducted. By seeing how past leaders in the field have engaged in their respective areas of expertise, you can hope to be better informed as to how you can innovate in your own particular area. Looking to large-scale or emerging trends in an industry can also be a boon in this area. Taken together, these two foundations of knowledge can equip a business professional with the tools they need to think outside of the box and change the market with innovative thinking.
In the work of Jesse Willms, we see this concept illustrated at a very early age. When he was still a teenager, he was already developing his lifelong interest in the field of business. At that time, he became deeply invested in researching the accomplishments of past business leaders, reading memoirs and various articles on the subject. By building his understanding of how business was conducted at the highest levels by those who came before him, he was able to equip himself with a range of tools to innovate on the field when he began his own career.
In some ways, the story of business progression has mirrored the progression of technology itself. As technology has advanced, some of the most impactful business leaders throughout history have found ways to utilize it to achieve lofty new business goals. By utilizing the ability of new technology to accomplish tasks in more efficient or entirely new ways, business leaders are able to pass previously unrealized capabilities on to their customers.
This again is illustrated in the work of the eCommerce entrepreneur, who was one of the first individuals to leverage the power of the internet and powerful new data tools to provide targeted marketing to consumers. Much of this work revolved around utilizing new marketing abilities afforded by search engines and large-scale ad networks to better understand consumer habits. Through this work, the entrepreneur was able to pass along advertising to consumers that was much more relevant to their needs and interests, affording them access to products that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Though many individuals had used the internet for marketing prior to that point, this new way to inform consumers of products proved to be a pivotal turn in the space.
Oftentimes, the story of innovation is characterized as a single person with one big idea. That idea, as the story goes, is so powerful that once it is brought into existence it has the power to fundamentally change many aspects of its field. While there are certainly ideas that have had this effect, it is not usually the case that a single idea can change a space on its own. Instead, ideas of this type need additional support from those that conceive of them in order for them to be successful. In other words, ideas can be plentiful, but execution is where they really shine.
Jesse Willms has shown this in his own work by engaging in a committed effort to build upon his ideas wherever possible. Rather than letting them exist in their smallest version, he’s worked hard to support them through investments in technology and team members who can help build upon the initial concept and bring its benefit to his customers. In doing so, he gives the innovation space to organically expand and achieve a greater impact than would otherwise be possible.
One final point to keep in mind when it comes to idea innovation is the need for continual growth. This growth can be with respect to an entrepreneur’s first big concept, as they seek to grow their business, or it can be with respect to the innovation of additional ideas along the way.
In the work of the eCommerce entrepreneur, this has manifested through a steadfast commitment to creating new offerings to consumers even after his first ideas proved quite successful. He’s noted that, to this day, he’ll often spend hours on search engines and the internet seeking to stress test and generate ideas that can be of use. Most recently, this process has led to the creation of a network of sites focused on offering free vehicle history reports to consumers, building on the opportunity realized by the free credit report space.
While tried and true ideas have their place in business, notably to serve consumers in a low-risk fashion, the history of business has often been told through a recounting of its most innovative ideas. These ideas have the potential to push the field to new heights and fundamentally change the lives of people across the globe. The work of Jesse Willms is a good example of what can be accomplished when entrepreneurs engage in this truly innovative thinking. That example bears further exploration for anyone interested in the way business capitalizes on the power of human imagination to help drive progress and change.