Steve Bailey on Generation G – The Innovation Generation

We’ve had Generations X, Y and Z. And right now we’re living in what history is likely look back on as ‘Generation G – The Innovation Generation’. The period during which entrepreneurs took the building blocks and turned them into ideas that changed civilisation – mostly for the better!

You will all know about the saying ‘When life gives you lemons – make lemonade!’ That’s about what an entrepreneur calls ‘unintended consequences’. And while that can bring down a rigid thinker, an entrepreneur will take those unintended consequences and combine them with innovation and entrepreneurial talent in a powerful blend that can bring about change at a far faster rate than ever experienced in our evolution.

Let me give you an example. Think about the combination of the internet, mobile technology, access to data, IT adoption and the 24/7 lifestyle.

All good in isolation, but blend these together and what do we have? Online shopping, social networks, Cloud computing, Apps ……the list goes on. The speed and scale of adoption is staggering – as is the opportunity for wealth creation and social/political impact.

Those huge brands Amazon, Google and Facebook were barely known ten years ago – yet today they’re amongst the most powerful organisations in the world.

Winners and Losers

Innovation spawns winners, but it also spawns losers and beneficiaries. Inventors and creators do not generally gain the most from their endeavours. The real winners are not the inventors but the entrepreneurs who recognise other uses and capabilities from new developments – especially when multiple innovations are combined or added to what currently exists in the market.

So don’t confuse innovation with invention and give up because you’re ‘not an inventor’.  It’s your power to make connections and see something bigger than the individual components that makes you an entrepreneur. While some people see just a pile of bricks and an untidy mess of tiles and sand and cement, you will see the house. You don’t need to have invented the bricks in order to do this!

Security – Hang on to What You’ve Created!

Innovation also demands appropriate levels of security. There is no point in building a business to have the value in it damaged or destroyed due to inadequate security and protection of its assets.

Your most valuable asset will generally consist of the data that has been built and acquired; other assets will include Intellectual Property, Employees, Client Base and Brand. And the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating its own security issues as it has the potential to offer many more points of potential security weaknesses. If hackers can gain access then it’s logical they will also attempt to access professional sites/employer sites.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is evolving rapidly due to the IoT and we have already seen large organisations being hacked through BYOD and the personal devices of senior executives. If you have your pet chipped and monitored using GPS, then it’s not difficult to hack your dog – and hence the hacker has access to its Master!

The first step is simply to recognise that a potential problem exists, and the critical impact it can have on your business. Blissful ignorance is the most dangerous place to be. Enabling access to your infrastructure is an absolute requirement – but so is the necessity to ensure that the access is restricted, controlled and appropriate.

Unrecognised Value

Until you’re looking to sell your business the value of your Intellectual Property and your data will probably be unrecognised and is generally not valued from a financial perspective until you sell. The enormity of having this value diminished is often never considered until a hacking or incident that causes real or reputational damage.

The best advice is to get the best advice.

Steve Bailey


About the author

Steve Bailey is a director of protecting data for organisations from international banks to city councils and even the British police. Steve has been profiled in many publications including the Sunday Times and was recently described by The Guardian as ‘a serial entrepreneur’


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