Uniqueness is a tough concept. I’ve got countless examples of clients pushing back over the years. ‘Come on, this is a manufacturing line, we don’t reinvent the wheel, this is how plastic bottles, or drug capsules, are made, everywhere. I don’t need creativity’. That one has been very common!
But the argument is almost always flawed. We are mixing uniqueness (maximum differentiation) with creativity (alternative ways, but not necessarily unique) with innovation (different, not tried application of ideas).
The robots… will take care of many repetitive, mechanical, unique or not, processes. That we know. They will also take care, via Artificial Intelligence, of a lot of thinking. And if the idiot machines can learn, and master the master of all algorithms, then, well, Mars is probably a good option.
Seriously, I am obsessed with uniqueness of product or services as an aspiration, not always reachable. If in my company we did not aspire to uniqueness, I would perhaps not be here, writing my Daily Thoughts.
For me, there is no limit as to how unique you want to be, whether it’s possible or not. It is the Michelangelo aspiration quoted a million times: ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark’.
Besides, should we really dismiss uniqueness as aspiration when we are each of us a live representation of the concept of ‘unique’? There is no other like you, not even your twin brother.
Here are five areas of uniqueness to explore:
- Making unique the otherwise repetitive
- Aspiring to be unique in an particular area/topic/expertise
- Creating truly unique experiences (with customers, colleagues, stakeholders)
- Making your personal contribution unique
- Interviewing new people in a unique way
To me, the magic question is ‘what would it take to achieve it?’ It may not be obvious. It may be hard. It may be easy to dismiss. But the question is one of the strongest one can ask in the professional world.
How can I/we be unique on X,Y.Z?
What would it take?