Be aware of the environment around you at workand what’s waking you to find the next revolutionary business concept.
Curiosity is at the heart of every breakthrough invention. In the absence of it, you wouldn’t could have harnessed electricity, soared into space, or created an effective vaccine called Covid-19 within SEOMoz says record-breaking time. While it’s simple enough to create a brilliant concept — and they’re all around but those that transform the entire field and profession require us to be alert to the issues present every day, and then ask “How can I change that? How can I make things better? How can I use my curiosity for good?”
This is exactly what I found when I made the transition from full-time professor within McMaster’s Department of Medicine at McMaster University to an entrepreneur and co-founder of Acuity Insights, formerly Altus Assessments Acuity Insights, a Toronto-based firm which has now employed 150 people. It all began with an test that challenged the idea that being smart with a book is all you need to be a competent teacher, doctor, nurse or business professional. The test evaluates professionalism and social intelligence that is combined with tests of knowledge . And we’ve observed that the deeper we examine someone, the more we can understand and help the person.
I spotted a gap and realized that there was chance to create a game-changing technology. The company has now expanded to offer a full range of products for higher education that link key data points across the learning journey of the student from entry to graduation giving key information factors to guide decision-making. Acuity has a partnership with over 350 higher education institutions around the world.
In my experience, nearly everyone can see an opportunity within their daily work and convert it into a profitable business. Here are five tips to consider to make the most of opportunities so that you can knock the new business idea out of the park:
- Be on the lookout for possible solutions
If we set a pile of books lying on the ground and the longer they stay there, it gets easier to move through them? With time and we lose track of them there, because we’ve become used to finding an alternative way.
The idea for my company was ignited by the realization that a non-effective solution -the use of letters of recommendation and personal statements when evaluating applicants for admissions was not working. They were biased. Medical schools, mine included, required to do better in accepting new students. Being a great doctor means more than just academic marks and high grades, or the amount of knowledge you have. It’s about how you use this knowledge to provide your patient with the skills of communication and empathy, as well as collaboration, ethics and professionalism.
So, we performed the right thing: we worked for over five years collecting information and developing assessments to ensure we were measuring what was important. After that, other organizations and programs began to be interested in our work, as well. We wondered: Should they have access to our revolutionary software? Can we make money from it? Then I realized that our innovative idea for business that had been tucked away inside the ivory-tower was now ready to be implemented in reality.
- Pay attention to your own thoughts
It can be difficult to determine the topics we’re passionate about the most especially when we’re managing multiple things to do. To narrow down the one thing that could inspire you in the in the long run, you must be listening to yourself. If, a few years ago I’d recorded myself talking about the need to change the medical school assessment process I’m certain I’d have realized that this was a passion that was genuine.
Talk with a person you know or within your circle about your idea. Are you excited? Are you more animated? Feel free? These suggestions could be the launching pad to turn a part-time job into an career , and possibly even revolutionizing your business through the process.
- Pay attention to the places you’re spending your spare time.
What are you doing with your time when you’re not able to devote? Are you awestruck by your side-project and you can’t not stop working on it? Do you often lean into certain meetings or inquire more about certain areas? Consider what motivates you.
The change from a highly-respected academic career to the unknown world of startups wasn’t an easy one, however. For a long time I worked long hours at the school as a professor. Then, I worked more hours in the evenings and on weekends for the business. I was at a turning level and realized that if I would like to change the world I had to shift my priorities. I ultimately traded the security of academia for a full-time life as an entrepreneur. It all started when I was just seven months pregnant and was establishing Acuity Insights with my co-founder, Harold Reiter, a radiation oncologist with a equally difficult job. Because I could follow my passion and never quit, I never gave up even though it was difficult.
- Prepare yourself for the possibility of a pushback
When I made the decision to quit my full-time university job to join the corporate world I sent an email to my colleagues to inform them about my decision. Some were able to accidentally include me with their comments to other colleagues regarding my decision. This was quite revealing; however, I realize that a lot of them had not considered a career that was not academic. However, at the conferences that I attended I was able discuss with them the reasons I am so enthusiastic and passionate. I was able to share with them the story of my “why.” I realized that what my “why” wasn’t tied to my work, but was about making the most impact.
If you’re experiencing resistance to the career change you’re considering contact others who have made the same decision or work in the field you’d like to move towards to find out about the obstacles and opportunities you may confront. Don’t forget to spend some time to look into your personal “why.” Knowing the core of what is driving you will help keep you moving towards your goals.
- Get unstuck
If you were to have told me a decade ago that I’d be an executive vice president and co-founder of a company I would have doubted you. I believed that I did not possess the necessary skills. We often think that we’re only able to perform what we’re currently doing and have a fixed expectation of what’s achievable for us. However, as a person who is firmly rooted within an industry is likely to provide a different knowledge and perspective to tackle a bigger issue. There are many people with marketing, sales and accounting degrees that can be employed. But innovators bring vision. Learn to recognize that, and step away from your own path. With time your vision, curiosity and enthusiasm will inspire the imagination of those who surround you.
Take note of the environment in your workplaceand what is igniting you up to discover the next game-changing business concept. When you’re trying to create the next path for your career the two most important factors are passion and curiosity.