#Oktane16: Innovation Needs More than an Idea, it Needs an Attitude

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Innovation needs more than a brilliant idea, concept or technology, it needs a certain attitude that can convince others and overcome criticism.

These were the words of author Malcolm Gladwell, keynote speaker at Oktane16 in Las Vegas this week.

Innovation and forward-thinking are at the vanguard of progression and evolution in the cybersecurity world. Whilst, by his own addition, Gladwell is no tech expert, he believes that there are a set of key qualities an individual needs to be a successful innovator and bring about change in any arena.

Highlighting his argument with reference to a doctor who, in the 1950s, brought about revolutionary change in the treatment of childhood leukemia in the face of public scrutiny, Gladwell explained that in innovation social risk taking is just as important as operational risk taking, citing three main aspects.

“The first is urgency,” he said. “If you look at successful innovators you see an attitude of urgency again and again; to do something NOW.”

The second, continued Gladwell, is disagreeableness – not needing the approval of others to do what you think is right:

“You must be tough enough to stand up to all the naysayers and critics who tell you what you’re doing is a mistake.”

“We are wired as human beings to seek out the approval of those around us; the easiest thing in the world is to be an innovator when the wind is at your back and the public doesn’t mind. The hardest thing is to be an innovator when everyone else around you is saying what you’re doing is crazy.”

Lastly, the simplest but the most important, is to have a volatility mind-set – don’t believe in the status quo and don’t expect the world to look the same in the morning as it did last night.

“The truth is, there is no continuity, there is no stability in the way people behave or in the things that we know or the way things play out.”

To close, Gladwell said:

“Innovators discover something they think is right, and nothing will stop them following through with that – if you want to make the world a better place, I think that’s the attitude to have.”

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