Vision and Innovation Come From Seeing Past the Map


There’s a reason Vanity Fair covered Jay-Z. He went far beyond the label of recording artist, blew past the concepts of hip hop and rapper and all those terms that just don’t fit. The man has diverse holdings in clothing lines, in a basketball team, in a liquor brand, in a talent agency for sports professionals, and so much more. Filmmaker Ron Howard even shot a documentary about one of his latest projects, Made in America, a genre busting concert and festival series that sees everyone from Run DMC to Pearl Jam to Skrillix taking the stage, sponsored by a huge brand but promoting the concepts of universal acceptance.

Does any of that sound like what came before? For his genre? Not at all.

Vision and Innovation Come From Seeing Past the Map

And lest you think that the concepts of “vision” and “innovation” are strictly for the likes of Apple and AirBNB, you’re mistaken. If you’re playing from the map of the landscape your business traditionally uses, then you’re missing the chance to see the real territory behind it.

Maps promote what seems permanent (credit card processing has been figured out and is now owned by a few huge companies). The territory shows you possibilities ( Square makes it easy for people to accept credit cards without a fuss and a lot of work). Maps tell you there’s a solid and set way to get there (land in a new city, rent a car or hail a cab). The territory says there are many ways to get there (Uber, Hailo, Lyft, and on and on).

There are so many ways to conceive of this for your business:

  • Map: 9-5 hours.
  • Territory: Hours when people really want you open.
  • Map: Must come in and fill out paperwork.
  • Vision: App-based applications.
  • Map: Circuses are about animals and popcorn and cheap toys.
  • Vision: Cirque du Soleil is about athletics and art and high end.

What are some of the maps you’re seeing right now and thinking about as if they’re the true story? Can you see the territory that underlies this? What opportunities can you find?

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