I came across a great quote from Thomas A Edison recently – “The reason a lot of people do not recognise opportunity is because it usually goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work.”
How true this is! It led me to think about how to recognize an opportunity. Looking online there are numerous self-help websites and academic articles on the subject of recognizing opportunity. Here are some of the more insightful points I gleaned from this research.
- Be open to unorthodox ideas.
This isn’t about just being open to new ideas, but being open specifically to unorthodox ideas. This means that we have to remove constraints to our thinking and beliefs and as they say “think outside of the box”.
- New ideas won’t be perfect
Don’t let the imperfections blind you to the idea though. If it sounds like it could be a good idea, don’t look for reasons not to do it, focus on how to overcome the shortcomings. Remember, opportunities take work.
- The future will be built with today’s tools
Don’t wait for the next iteration of technology or novel process, use what is present today and combine existing solutions in novel ways.
- Learn from other’s failures
Look at the big ideas that failed as well as those that succeeded to understand how your opportunity can succeed.
- Timing, timing, timing
Is now the right time for this opportunity? Think about this at every level: personal, market, location, technology.
Some useful references on recognizing opportunities are: