Do you see yourself as an innovator?
Innovative companies like Google and Facebook, and the recent $16 billion dollar deal for WhatsApp continue to highlight the importance and power of innovation. It reinforces the perception that innovation happens mostly within the world of technology and big companies. But there is nothing further from the truth.
The reality is that innovation starts with ONE individual, and that person can be someone from every walk of life. Innovation is personal. And, as I see it, innovation is more than creative intellect. Innovation is about resilience. What do people around the world do, under the worst of circumstances? Under severe lack of resources and pressing need? They ‘innovate.’
My parents came from the Dominican Republic in the 1960’s — young dreamers who couldn’t speak English, with a few Dominican pesos in their pockets. My mother barely had an eight grade education, but she had a vision and drive for how she wanted her life to unfold in this country. She began working in a leather coat factory, sewing patches of leather pieces together, for eight to ten hours daily. But with every stitch and every piece she sewed, she saw herself closer to her vision.
Despite the long hours of factory work, my mother had multiple side businesses. She sold clothes, products and jewelry at home, and went door to door pitching her products. She was innovating, creating new opportunities for herself and working hard. Eventually, my parents became small business owners. In the 1980’s they opened up their own factory, and later established a small coffee shop my mother ran for the past 30 years, until she was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.
With all their life-long work, drive and vision, they managed to raise three adult children who are all professionals today, and they became entrepreneurs. Humbly, they achieved the life they had envisioned for themselves. I call that innovation. No app or technology gadget in the world can claim to be more innovative than what our immigrant parents do when they come to this country.
And, as for YOU — I ask the following question: Are you an innovator? Do you bring a new perspective to the table at work? Are you hustling and making things happen as you handle life, work, career and family? Are you creating possibilities for yourself, your family, your workplace, your community, your country? The answer is YES!
My call to action today is that we begin to own our inherent innovative style as Latin@s in this country. We are the present and future of innovation — whether it happens in life, our community, technology, education and the sciences.
Don’t be left out of the innovation conversation. Join us for an upcoming Twitter Chat on Latina Innovation, and meet some amazing innovators. We will also discuss ways to leverage technology and social media to move forward your career and innovation. Oh, yes, and with have some awesome giveaways, too!
YOU are the face of innovation…
Click the link below to join our #LatinaInnovation Twitter Conversation on June 26th, 2014, 9PM ET (6PM PT).