Some of the best ideas come from addressing our own specific needs and skills. That’s how we create businesses right? We have a problem and we try to solve it by creating a product or service. That’s also the approach a lot of people take towards innovation, but what so many people often overlook is that an idea doesn’t just have to come from a current problem you have. It can also come from a problem you’ve already solved.
Such was the case for 21 year old Christopher Gray, aptly named the “Million-Dollar Scholar” because of his keen ability to find scholarships. He’s been awarded $1.3 million dollars in them and spent a fair amount of time helping other families find scholarships as well. While Gray didn’t need any more to fund his own education, he saw the need that families had to find scholarships that were available and thus created Scholly.
Scholly is an app that uses different parameters to instantly filter scholarship listings into a comprehensive directory of scholarships a student is applicable for, allowing users to save a list of the scholarships and send it to their e-mail. Cutting the search time for scholarships down to five minutes, the app allows students to find scholarships they didn’t even know they could qualify for. With over 10,000 downloads at 99 cents a piece, the app has a huge payoff for students that manage to find and apply for all of the right scholarships.
Christopher Gray didn’t need help finding more scholarships, he’d already solved that problem. Instead, he wanted to pass his skills along to families in need by developing an app to assist them. And that drive to help others and pass along what he already knew ended up creating a solid source of income not just for Gray but for the others who helped build the app. That tells us that great ideas don’t just have to come from problems that we have and want to solve – but also from solutions we already possess.
That’s why it’s so important for businesses to not only utilise their current networks and get ideas from all of their employees, but also re-examine the way they look at their innovation process. Accessing and implementing innovation management software is one part of the battle. It’s also about how you look at getting new ideas and where you look. Someone in your company may already have a great solution like Christopher Gray’s, but you won’t know it unless you have a way to access their full potential.
How can we do a better job of accessing our company’s potential?
image credit: christopher gray
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Lola Olson is a freelance writer who creates content, manages social media, and advises on marketing strategies, working with Wazoku, Find Invest Grow, Pink Therapy, and several other organisations.