There is a fundamental difference between creating something and changing something. Do you know what it is?
Changing something starts with a fundamental assumption – that you will be “bringing along” whatever it is that you would like to change. For example, if you were changing a car into a different kind of car, you would be keeping some of the most basic elements. In the same way, if you are working on “changing” your outlook on the world, or changing a habit, or changing the way that you do your job, you also are keeping some of the most foundational and fundamental elements.
Sometimes, change works just fine. Other times, changing something old into something new is more work than it’s worth. Sometimes, what you need isn’t change. You need to create something entirely new.
Steve Jobs and Apple did this when they created the I-Pod. Jobs and Apple wanted to change the way that people listened to music, Jobs might have iterated something on a discman or a walkman. But, he didn’t do that. He created something entirely new. Some would argue that this invention changed the world.
Creating something new or the act of invention requires that we are willing to start from a complete blank slate. In order to create something that was not there before, there must be an absence of…anything.
This distinction between creation and change is essential to grasp if we are to understand how we operate in the new wild west of technology at the intersection of entrepreneurship, communication and how we make sense of the world.
It can be both terrifying and powerful.
Terrifying because creating something new means be willing to let go of anything that has come before and therefore, any understanding or context around what is being done.
The power of creating something new however, is that your possibilities are endless.
I am hopeful that those of us in services industries such as health-care, higher education and non-profits are becoming more and more willing to start “creating” something new instead of trying to “change” old ways of thinking or operating.
Change isn’t easy, but it’s safer. Creating something new is both terrifying and hard. So, it would make sense why doing something new is so difficult.
But I can’t think of any better way to change the world.