Reinventing The Wheel

Posted on June 22, 2014 by Josh Linkner

“Stop trying to reinvent the wheel,” Bob says in a snarky tone. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Tell that to the researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who designed the Copenhagen Wheel. Quite literally, they reinvented the wheel, the very device we’ve all been admonished not to disrupt. The Copenhagen Wheel fits on most bicycles delivering a giant leap forward to the rider.

The Copenhagen Wheel

When going down hills or when breaking, excess energy is captured and used to charge the integrated lithium battery pack. Conversely, when riding up a hill or experiencing more difficult pedaling, the energy is released, giving the rider a motorized boost. Smart controls are integrated into the driver’s mobile phone, allowing the rider to control the level of power assist along with several other factors. In cities that rely on bicycle transportation, this breakthrough is poised to make a transformational difference.

Old wives tales designed to protect the past have lost their luster. In today’s fist-fighting economy, we no longer have the luxury of coasting on previous innovations. In our companies, careers, and communities, it is our responsibility to embrace the concept of continuous reinvention.

Many say that success is a permanent condition; as if you’ve cracked the code on a vault full of cash that will continue to deliver indefinitely. Don’t drink that moonshine. Truth is, success is a temporary condition in the context of many external factors that today are changing at a faster rate than any other time in history. Now more than ever, we must leverage each success as a jumping-off point for renewal instead of trying to protect that which cannot be protected.

It’s easy to think you’ll have plenty of time to react once things take a turn for the worse. Too often, however, decay builds undetected as you ride the wave of previous accomplishment.

When decline finally sets in, it is hardly gradual. The downward plummet can happen so quickly and with such ferocity, it may require superpowers to conquer. In fact, once an organization embarks on a turnaround effort, it is only able to regain its leadership position 10% of the time.

Change is inevitable. The question is, will you drive that change or be driven by it? In our hyper-competitive world, your choice is simple: disrupt or be disrupted.

The good news is that each of us is well-armed to realize our own creative transformation. The required tools are not money or power, but the raw human creativity that we all possess (even if it’s been dormant for years). It’s time to architect the future by proactively reinventing each aspect of your business and your life. Nearly every industry is in the midst of massive upheaval. Therein lies your opportunity.

Yes, it’s time to reinvent the wheel. And the auto business. And tech. And financial services. And telecommunications. In fact, there’s never been a better time to reinvent … for us all.

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