One of the most overused words around at the moment is ‘breakthrough.’ Hardly a day passes when there isn’t another breakthrough in some area and that started me wondering: what is it that constitutes a breakthrough?
When technology changes as fast as it does now and even shampoos and toothpastes are constantly breaking through some barrier or other, it’s hard to distinguish between a breakthrough and a development. It used to be a lot easier…
Ring the changes
In 1928 Alexander Fleming identified penicillin, the first chemical compound with antibiotic properties. No grey areas there, that was a breakthrough that transformed medicine. But what about subsequent developments in antibiotics – are they all breakthroughs or just developments?
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell took out a patent on the first working telephone, a device that allowed people to talk to each other over distance. Over the following 120 years or so, telephones developed, the design of the equipment changed, the quality of the communication got better, the distance between speakers increased to allow talk from one side of the globe to the other and people could even walk around with them in their pocket; but the basic use of a telephone never really altered. It was still a device that allowed people to talk over distance.
Things really changed in 1999 when the Japanese company NTT DoCoMo released the first smartphone. Now that really was a breakthrough. It was a breakthrough because it took something we were all familiar with in such a radically different direction that it changed our perception of what it is and what it does, so much so that most of us seldom use our phones anymore for their original function; we spend most of the time we are on our phones not talking to anyone.
To make a breakthrough, you have to create something totally original or reimagine what is possible with something you already have. Once you unleash the power of imagination, real breakthroughs are always possible.
Transform your 2017
New Years resolutions are usually about doing more of what’s good for us and less of what’s bad for us, but that’s only development – transformation requires something more.
At the Reluctant Salesman we talk about ‘breakthrough technology.’ It’s not penicillin or the smartphone but it does have the potential to transform your business and your life by taking something people see as difficult and making it simple. We all know that doing what we have always done will give us the results we always get, so maybe it’s time to try something different.
To help you get started in making that breakthrough in 2017, I am offering all of our UK subscribers, free and without obligation, a New Year coaching session. It’s a thank you for your support. Just send me an email to [email protected] and I will be in touch.
In a year that has seen so much change, much of it challenging, I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and a truly prosperous New Year, and I look forward to meeting up with you in 2017.