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Idealog's Innovation Playlist: The sounds of struggle

Being in business is like the proverbial roller coaster ride – high highs, low lows, unexpected turns, multiple passengers and, often, a funny feeling in the pit of your stomach. Maya Breen looks at what that journey might sound like.

  • Check out our previous Innovation Playlist to hear the shift from a consumption economy to a connection economy here

Pure Imagination – Gene Wilder

The creation of anything starts with an idea and starting a business is no different. It’s no small undertaking and the founder usually has a focused drive and an immovable why, perhaps having been inspired or motivated by something in a strong way. Anything you want to, do it. Wanna change the world? There's nothing to it. Making the choice to venture into the unknown and act on new ideas is what continually extends the reach of human capability and, as Coco Chanel once said: "Success is often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable”.

I Need A Dollar – Aloe Blacc

Although having the vision is important, reality always bites and making an idea into a sustainable business is tough. And I said I need dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need. And if I share with you my story would you share your dollar with me? There are more startups trying to tell their story than ever before, to a limited range of investors. It’s dog eat dog. And, as Thomas Edison said: “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” 

All or Nothing – Lost Frequencies

Blood, sweat and tears definitely go into creating a successful business. It's high-risk, high-reward. And if you go all in, you got a lot to lose my friend. Being devoted to a business can take its toll – be it sleepless nights, family strain, health issues or jeopardising financial security. But if it was easy, everyone would do it. And if people knew what was ahead, many probably wouldn’t start. Elon Musk famously said he thought Tesla would fail. But he added:“If something’s important enough, you should try. Even if the probable outcome is failure.”

Feeling Good – Nina Simone

The flip-side, however, is when your business does well and all those hardships become worthwhile. A deep passion for their work and a desire to succeed is what keeps many business people going, despite the odds – and the difficulties. Sleep in peace when the day is done, that's what I mean. And this old world is a new world. And a bold world. For me. 

Dreamer – Tommy Trash & DENM

Great businesses stand apart from the rest and have strong leadership steering them in the right direction. Humans can understand risk, but we struggle with uncertainty. And creating things that don’t exist is where the biggest gains – and misjudgements – can be made. There will definitely be doubters (“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,” Ken Olsen said back in 1977, while H.M. Warner’s response to the idea of movies with sound was, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”). But entrepreneurs need to believe in their crazy dreams – and get everyone to believe them too. Say y'all think I'm crazy, I do it my way, I'mma do my own dance. 

Winds of Change – Scorpions

Businesses that want to stay relevant as the world changes around them need to detect that change coming before it arrives. Technology is affecting how we live and interact and, although many businesses may wish for a crystal ball, the best shouldn’t need one if they embrace the idea of 'maverick scouting' and keep their eyes peeled. The future's in the air. I can feel it everywhere. Blowing with the wind of change.

I Believe I Can Fly – R Kelly

Self-belief, grit or, as some call it, pigheadedness, is a common attribute shared by the business magnates of the world– it’s what keeps them on track and, just like Michael Jordan in Space Jam, gives them the strength to get back up and try again after failing. If I can see it, then I can do it, If I just believe it, there's nothing to it. 

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