Learning to Innovate

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Despite popular belief, learning to innovate and ideation can be taught in a systematic way. Just as easily, business ideas can be vetted in a systematic way. Rob Ryan took his career into orbit when we discovered a business development model which he calls the sunflower model. He built his company- Ascend Communications- using the sunflower model and helped take it from the point of bankruptcy to selling for $24 billion. Today, Rob has his eyes fixed on the up and coming generation by teaching high school students skills in entrepreneurship.

Rob helps people understand their core competency- or what they’re really good at. Once they see the strengths that they have, they can learn how to leverage them and vet out ideas that can turn into profitable businesses.

The 5 main steps that Rob teaches students are:

  • How to identify your strengths?
  • How to rank those strengths?
  • How to ideate (create ideas) off of those strengths?
  • How to systematically rank those ideas to see where your competencies will take you?
  • How to go out to customers to validate this whole process (test your hypothesis)?

What is all comes down to is that Rob is trying to let everyone know that they can be successful by learning to be creative. He says that these skills aren’t just limited to Steve Jobs and Elon Musk- they’re in each and everyone of us and just need to be developed and brought out.

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