Ninja Innovation : Taking a Leaf Out of a Ninja’s Scroll – Killer Techniques for Entrepreneurs
You may think that it’s funny to think of ninjas in relation to businesses but I think that it’s genius. Just because some practice or concept is applied to other matters (like espionage and assassination) that doesn’t mean that there can’t be a thing called ninja innovation.
Gary Shapiro’s book, Ninja innovation details how ninjutsu and the results-based practices of ninjas can be the elements that contribute to business success. I think it’s brilliant that an entrepreneur or business owner can think of themselves as shadow warriors engaging in some ‘ninja innovation’.
When you think about how ninjas innovate, I believe that the focus of your efforts in your business should always be the results. What you do to get these results is where ninja expertise comes in. Here are some things you can take from ninja wisdom that readily applies to business and innovation:
1. Focus on the results.
What set ninja apart from all other ancient Japanese warriors, and even medieval knights, is that they only want results. They don’t feel bound by rules and ethics as rigidly as other warriors do. If they want something done, they do whatever it takes. Innovation calls for entrepreneurs to define their goals and pursue it, never losing sight despite failures and even successes.
2. Assemble the best team you can.
Ninjas can work alone but they have contacts and networks of other ninjas or spies. Sometimes, ninjas even give the illusion that they are working alone but actually have a whole team at their disposal. Thomas Edison, though he didn’t know it at that time, employed ninja innovation by hiring dozens of personal assistants and collaborating with other scientists in the world’s very first research and development laboratory.
3. Don’t shy away from risks.
Risk nothing, gain nothing. Ninjas realize that if they don’t put themselves in danger, they won’t get the results they want. Every single facet of their lives involves them risking their necks for a desired result. Intel put millions of dollars and innumerable man hours in marketing their “Intel Inside” tag line. This meant that if computer manufacturers didn’t use their brand or people didn’t realize that “Intel Inside” meant, their risk was for naught. But it paid off, and now people immediately know that a computer with Intel processors is a good buy.
4. Business is a war, and the best strategy usually wins.
Innovation calls for business owners to compete with every other company in the same industry. The tablet arena is a great example of how business is war. Despite a plethora of tablets from a myriad of producers, the iPad still reigns supreme. Effectively, Apple had just won the tablet wars thanks to producing a tablet different from everything else.
5. Innovation is the only way to survive.
In a highly-competitive field, I think that ninja innovation is actually a necessity. If you don’t innovate, no one is going to buy your products. The only reason people buy smartphones every year is because companies come up with new tech and services for each model.
In the end, ninja innovation requires entrepreneurs to be innovative, creative, focused on results, ready to wage war and take risks. It’s a different kind of way to do business, but it’s surely effective.