Important innovation question: What are you fed up with?

And are you willing to do something about it?

That’s the question many people can’t answer. Everyone likes to complain. Complaining is easy because you don’t have to expend any energy in thinking about how you would fix it. All you have to do is express your frustrations.

It’s when you take matters into your hands that everything changes.

Stan Van Gundy, the Coach of the Orlando Magic, says he’s fed up with the government and wants to do something about it. From Zach McCann for the Orlando Sentinel:

Van Gundy, who enjoys watching political shows and reading magazines such as Time and Newsweek in his free time, said he’s thought about pursuing a career in politics once he’s done coaching. He isn’t sure what level of politics, but he has seriously considered the possibility.

“I don’t like what’s going on,” Van Gundy said of the recent happenings in Washington, D.C. “I think sometimes you can sit around and complain. Look, I want to coach for as long as I can. But when that’s done — depending on where my family situation is — yeah, I’d think about it. I certainly would think about it.

“I’m fed up with the people in our government. Because I’m fed up, instead of complaining about it, I plan to do something about it.”

Whether he does it or not, that’s the right attitude to have.

As I recounted previously, a few years ago I was fed up of reading the newspaper in Tijuana and seeing only stories of murderers and violence. I decided to do something about it:

tijuana pinta tijuana

The result was a city wide crowdsourcing experiment and a shot at a new Guinness World Record. While things didn’t end up as I planned, that only fed my hunger. Creating change isn’t easy, it’s challenging. But the reward is in the grind, into getting things moving and seeing people adopt your vision and putting it in play. This project took over 3 months of my time away from the office, not to mention a lot of hours persuading and lobbying politicians to support a 26 year old with, what seemed to them, a radical idea.

Innovators have strong opinions of just about anything. Especially if we get pissed off because of a bad experience. Sometimes we don’t have to be the ones with the bad experience, we can empathize with other people and feel the urge to do something. Basically we think we can make anything better than it currently is and have a strong desire to do so.

So ask yourself: What don’t I like about what currently exists? What sucks?

If you have fire in your belly you’ll come up with a large list of things (if you can’t you’re not trying hard enough) of stuff you think sucks. This is good because it will motivate you, it will give you a North Star. Once you feel your blood flowing and sweat in your arms, that means you’ve come up with enough items to ask yourself the next question: How can I make it better?

Next step: Set out to do it.

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