Flip the Switch

If you have an idea that you genuinely think is good, don’t let some idiot talk you out of it.

~Stan Lee (Marvel Comics)

Thomas Edison was a prolific inventor and diligent genius who earned 1,093 patents over his lifetime. Often working 18-hour days in a cramped lab, he took his meals at his desk. He reserved time for few things besides his work, neglecting vacations, sleep and often, bathing.

It’s the classic story of grit, hustle and good old-fashioned hard work. But, something is missing from this story.

… Actually, there is a lot missing.

Edison Wasn’t Alone

Edison was surrounded by equally obsessed lab technicians that also put in 18- hour days. In fact, the idea of the lone, lonely inventor is a myth. It leaves out the messy yet beautiful process: Collaboration. The sharing of a common vision. Moving from “my idea” to “our project” takes many hands not attached to the founder title.

Many of the greatest titans of industry supported Edison because they believed in his vision. J.P. Morgan invested in Edison’s team because he believed in their potential to create a solution for installing electricity in his 5th Avenue Manhattan mansion. During this project, Morgan’s home transformed into a lab where Edison’s team experimented, resulting in a generator that powered the home’s 400 light bulbs. This ingenuity amazed the masses, and soon after, New York City was energized by Edison’s design which resulted in the explosive growth of numerous industries.

Today’s advancements in technology coupled with rapidly expanding markets provide a similar opportunity for growth. Connecting founders to resources that support a shared vision is the mission and future of Innovation DuPage.

Discover Your Unfair Advantage

Did Thomas Edison have an unfair advantage in his partnership with J.P. Morgan? Of course. Likewise, entrepreneurs working in the newly remodeled ID space will receive consistent support as they develop their own unfair competitive advantage.

When novel thinking connects to a solid infrastructure–like the resource-rich ID environment– partnerships will create ventures which move the needle for the entire community. By tapping into the power of “we” something truly original results.

Innovation DuPage offers entrepreneurs and small business owners a roadmap for turning ideas into those commercial ventures. There is an intentionality to the process that enables entrepreneurs to efficiently build a startup by searching for product/market fit rather than blindly executing on assumptions. Startup founders receive guidance while they craft a scalable business model, define their value proposition, enhance their competitive differentiation and collect customer insights.

Next-Generation Design

Successful entrepreneurs search for the truth about their ideas–wherever that may lead. Failing fast and moving forward is an important advantage of working in a community of entrepreneurs. Innovation DuPage provides a safe environment for founders resulting in more successes and fewer failures than going it alone.

At ID, vetted mentors guide entrepreneurs with rounds of constructive feedback grounded in expertise. By sharing knowledge and pushing founders out of their comfort zone, entrepreneurs learn to effectively grow or pivot.

Also, in partnership with The Business Development Center (now also headquartered at the Glen Ellyn Civic Center), entrepreneurs can conduct market research and access support services from throughout the entrepreneurial ecoverse.

The goal is to gain insight to clarify each founder’s vision and extend each startup’s runway to help them build traction. The process develops more resilient entrepreneurs who have a dedicated support network mirroring the actual experience of Thomas Edison.

If you desire to join our growing community of entrepreneurs, we want to hear from you.

Until next time remember, “Genius doesn’t fade just because we stopped watching.”

By Travis Linderman

Travis Linderman served as director for three venture incubators prior to his selection as managing director of Innovation DuPage. He founded a startup with Princeton University, secured venture capital backing, scaled rapidly and enjoyed a successful IP acquisition. He has spearheaded capital campaigns that have raised over $600 million for technology development. You can reach him at ID@InnovationDuPage.org.